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Cornell University Library 
PG 3115.A25 1916 

Russian folk-tales 

3 1924 026 605 497 




J. C. 














Any editor o£ Slav folk-tales starts with great advantages. 
Russia is a country where artistic development began 
very late ; where popular lore was conserved with little 
alteration owing to the immensities of the country, the 
primitiveness of the people, and the punctiliousness of 
the compilers. 

The principal source for Russian folk-tales is the 
great collection of Afaiiasev, a coeval of Rybnikov, 
Kireyevski, Sakharov, Bealsonov, and others who all from 
about 1850 to 1870 laboriously took down from the lips 
of the peasants of all parts of Russia what they could of 
the endless store of traditional song, ballad, and folk- 
tale. These great collectors were actuated only by the 
desire for accuracy ; they appended laboriously erudite 
notes ; but they were not literary men and did not 
sophisticate, or improve on their material. 

But, before venturing on a brief account of the tales, 
something must be premised as to the position occupied 
by folk-tales in the cultural development of a people. 
In Pagan times, there always existed a double religion, 
the ceremonial worship of the gods of nature and the 
tribal deities, — a realm of thought in which all current 
philosophy and idealism entered into a set form that 
symbolized the State, — and also local cults and super- 
stitions, the adoration of the spirits of streams, wells, 
hills, etc. To all Aryan peoples, Nature has always been 
alive, but never universalized, or romanticized, as in 
modern days ; wherever you were, the brook, the wind, 
the knoll, the stream were all inhabited by agencies, 


which could be propitiated, cajoled, threatened, but, 
under all conditions, were personal forces, who could not 
, be disregarded. 

When Christianity transformed the face of the world, 
it necessarily left much below the surface unafEected. 
The great national divinities were proscribed and sub- 
merged ; some of their features reappearing in the 
legendary feats of the saints. The local cults continued, 
with this diflFerence, that they were now condemned by 
the Church and became clandestine magic ; or else they 
were adopted by the Church, and the rites and sanc- 
tuaries transferred. The memory of them subsisted ; 
the fear of these local gods degenerated into super- 
stition ; the magic of the folk-tales becomes half -fantastic, 
half-conventional, belief in which is surreptitious, usual, 
and optional. At this stage of disorganization of local 
custom, folk-tales arise, and into them, transmitted as 
they are orally and under the ban of the Church, con- 
taminations of all sorts creep, such as mistaken etymor 
logies, faint memories of real history, reminiscences 
of lost folk-songs. Christian legend and morals, etc. 

The Russian people have handed down three cate- 
gories of records. First of all, the Chronicles, which are 
very full, very accurate, and, within the limits of the 
temporary concepts of possibility and science, absolutely 
true. Secondly, the ballads or byliny ; epic songs in an 
ancient metre, narrating historical episodes as tkey 
occur ; and also comprising a cycle of heroic romance, 
comparable with the chansons de geste of Charlemagne, 
the cycles of Finn and Cuchiilain of the Irish, and 
possibly with the little minor epics out of which it is 
supposed that some supreme Greek genius built up the 
artistic epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey. These byliny 
may be ranked as fiction : i.e. as facts of real life (as then 
understood), applied to non-existent, unvouched, or 
legendary individuals. They are not bare records of 


fact, like the Chronicles ; imagination enters into their 
scope ; non-human, miraculous incidents are allowable ; 
their content is not a matter for faith or factual record ; 
they may be called historical fiction, which, broadly 
taken, corresponded to actual events, and typified the 
national strivings and ideals. The traditional ceremonial 
songs, magical incantations and popular melodies are of 
the same date and in the same style. 

Thirdly, the folk-tales. In their matter, these differ 
little, if at all, from the common Aryan stock. In their 
treatment, there are well-marked divergencies. They 
are, in the first place, characterized by the so-called 
realism that tinges all Russian literature ; a better word 
would be factualism, as realism is associated with the 
anti-romanticism that accentuates material facts and 
seeks to obliterate moral factors. 

This attitude of mind is rather like that of a careful 
observer, who has become callous, because he is helpless — 
an attitude of those who serve and stand and wait. 

From the earliest Chronicles to the most modern 
fiction, this factuaUsm characterizes Russian work. It 
has reacted on the Folk-tales in several ways ; all the 
more observable as we have them fresh and ungarnished, 
as the tellers told them. 

The stories are not, like the German Mdrchen, neatly 
rounded off into consequential and purposive stories. 
The incidents follow almost haphazard ; and at the end, 
the persons mentioned at the beginning may be forgotten ; 
the stories are often almost as casual as real life. 

The stories relate experiences in succession, attempt no 
judgment, do not even affirm their own credibility. 
Things simply happen ; our exertions may sometimes 
be some good ; we can oiily be quietly resigned. But, 
unlike the Arabian Nights, there is no positive fatalism ; 
for that would imply a judgment ; a warping of facts 
to suit a theory. 


Equally, there is none of the artistic grace of Greek 
legend, nor the exuberance of Celtic fantasy; both 
of these are departures from the crude, unilluded, unex- 
pectant observation. 

This unconsciously involves a perfect art with regard 
to detail ; so much is told as a man would remember of 
an experience ; there is no striving after impressionalism, 
nor meticulous detail. 

The prevailing tone is sadness ; but there is no 
absence of humour ; yet fun merely happens, and is 
inherent ; there is no broad, boisterous fun. 

In them, unlike other Aryan folk-tales, there are no 
fairies, nor giants, nor gnomes, nor personifications of 
nature. As in his Pagan myths, the Slav never advanced 
beyond inchoate conceptions of Nature, he neither 
philosophized like the Hindu, nor created types of pure 
grace like the Greek, nor beautiful fancies, like the Celt. 
Where the river-gods [vodyanoy], or the wood-sprites 
[lesi], have human form, it is to a certain extent because 
they have been contaminated with the Christian Devil. 

To sum up, these undiluted products of the Russian 
people are a faithful mirroring of life, as it appeared, 
casual ; for the most part unfortunate, and inscrutable. 

There are some very frequent supernatural beings. 
The Witch who lives in the forest, rides the winds in a 
mortar, devours human flesh, lives in a hut on cocks' 
legs, is one of the commonest. The great baleful 
magician is Koshchey the Deathless, whose soul, in some 
stories, is contained in an egg far away, fearsomely 
guarded. Historically, his ancestry is the dread Tatar, 
in which figure all the previous Turanian tribes that 
overran medieval Russia have been confounded. 

Notes will be found deahng with all such specific 
persons and places. 

The folk-tales are very various ; some classes of them 
can be distinguished. 


Tlie bestiary, or animal story, is common, and the 
parts which the beasts enact are similar to the Teutonic 

The semi-sacred legends of the days when Christ and 
his Apostles walked the earth, superficially may be com- 
pared with Grimm's stories. But the spirit is very 
different. To a very slight extent they are based on 
the Gospel. But the Russian Christ of the folk-tales is 
a good, just, honest peasant, with democratic sympathies, 
and plenty of humour. His justice is unwavering, but 
tempered with sound common sense. He is kind, charit- 
able and thoroughly human. 

The Saints also walk the earth. Saint George [Egori] 
has taken over many Pagan legends ; in one of the semi- 
sacred byliny [v. Bezsonov, Kaleki Perekhozhie], he 
turns round the oaks and the mountains, like Vertodub 
and Vertogor, and in other byliny of the same class the 
miraculous incidents of the birth of Ilya Muromets are 
attributed to him. Saint Nicholas is the worker of 
miracles ; and Saint Elias has had some of the powers 
of the thundergod transferred to him. 

Other stories are prose adaptations of the ballads, 
and must be considered as such. 

There are two personifications, which call for special 
attention, those of Death and of Sorrow. Both are 
borrowed from ballad cycles. Both figures appear as 
ghostly spirits, who persecute man, but yet can be very 
efficaciously and roughly handled. 

There are some few satires ; but the large majority 
cannot be readily classified. They contain the usual 
incidents of transformations, magic, witches, the valor- 
ous youngest son, the beautiful princess wronged by 
the evil stepmother, — in fact, the common Aryan stock, 
all tinged with the characteristic Slav temperiament. 

Artless as these stories are, there are a few peculiar 
conventions in the narration. Such are the little fore- 


words, with their sardonic musings ; the conclusion of 
almost every happy tale that the narrator was at the 
feast, but never might taste the viands ; the references 
to the distances the hero must go, which the narrator 
has not the knowledge to estimate accurately ; the 
reference to the land of these wonderful happenings, 
" the thrice ninth land, the thrice tenth kingdom " ; 
and many other traditional stylisms. 

In conclusion, it should be stated "that the store of 
primitive folklore of the Slavs has scarcely been touched. 
The Slav peoples conserved primitive Aryan customs 
almost up to the middle of the nineteenth century; 
and then these were industriously and conscientiously 
compiled. Taking Russia alone, there are collections of 
magic formulas, ceremonial songs of Pagan origin, 
volumes of traditional ballads ; and the ancient munic 
has also been recorded. But Bulgaria, Little-Russia, 
Serbia, Bohemia, and all the Slav countries have similar 
compilations ; and every one of these nationalities is as 
strongly individualized, as are, say, the Danes, . the 
Dutch, and the Germans. 

These stories have been translated direct from the 
Russian of Afanalev ; the selection is intended to 
represent, as completely as possible, the varieties of 
Russian folk-tale. As far as an analytic language, like 
modern English, can render so highly inflected a tongue as 
Russian, the translator has tried to keep strictly to the 
style and diction of the originals, which are the un- 
doctored traditional stories. 


Every Russian word has one strongly accented syllable, which 
is marked with an acute accent. The vowels are to be sounded as 
in Italian. 

Ch to be sounded as in English. 

G always hard, as in ' give,' ' got ' : never as in ' gem.' 

J always as in English. 

Kh like German ci, or Scotch ch in ' loch.' 

L when hard (e.g. before a, o, u) something like II in ' pull ' ; 
when soft (e.g. before e, i) like I in French * vi/.' 

S always hard, as in ' so' 

V as in English : at the end of words as ' f.' 

y consonantally, as in English * yet ' ; as a vowel like ' i ' in 

' Will.' 

Z always as in English. 

Zh like ' J ' in leisure, or French ' j.' 





The Pronunciation of Russian Words 


The Dun Cow 


A Tale of the Dead 


ATakof theDead 


A Tale of the Dead 


The Bear, the Dog and the Cat .... 


Egori the Brave and the Gipsy .... 


Danllo the Unfortunate 


The Soriry Drunkard 


The Wolf and the Tailor 


The Tale of the Silver Saucer and the Crystal Apple 



The Sun and how it was Made by Divine Will 


The Language of the Birds ..... 


Baba Yaga and Zamoryshek 



Mark the Rich 


By Command of the Prince Daniel 


The Thoughtless Word 


The Tsaritsa Harpist 


The Tale of Ivan Tsarevich, the Bird of Light, and the Grej 




The Priest with the F.nvious Eyes .... 


The Soldier and Death 


The Midnight Dance 


Vasilisa the Fair 

. 109 



The Animals in the Pit 

The Poor Widow .... 

Ilya Miiromets and Svyatogor the Knight 

The Smith and the Devil 

The Princess who would not Smile 

The Tsarevich and Dyad'ka . 

Prince Evstafi .... 

Vasilisa Popovna .... 

The Dream . . ... 

The Soldier and the Tsar in the Forest 

The Tale of Alexander of Macedon 

The Brother of Christ . 

Alyosha Popovich 

God's Blessing Compasses all Things 

Shemyak the Judge 

A Story of Saint Nicholas 

The Potter 

The Witch and the Sister of the Sun 
Marya Moryevna , . ... 

The Realm of Stone 

The Story of Tsar Angey and how he Suffered for Pride 

The Feast of the Dead . 

The Quarrelsome Wife . 

Ehjah the Prophet and St. Nicholas 

The Princess to be Kissed at a Charge 

The Wood Sprite 

The Realms of Copper, Silver and Gold 

Chufil-Filyushka .... 

Donotknow .... 

The Sea Tsar and Vasilisa the Wise 

The Animals' Winter Quarters 

The Story of Ilya Muromets and the Nightingale Robber 

Nikita the Tanner ...... 

The Singing-Tree and the Speaking-Bird 




At the Behest of the Pike .274 

The Journey to Jerusalem 


Vazliza and Volga 


The Enchanted Tsarevich 


The Snake Princess 


Beer and Bread . 


Sorrow .... 


Ivashko and the Wise Woman 


Never-wash .... 


Christ and the Geese . 


Christ and Folk-rsongs . 


The Devil in the Dough-pan . 


The Sun, The Moon and Crow Crowson 


The Legless Knight and the Blind Knight 


A Cure for Story-Telling 




^ 349 



You know that there are all sorts in this world, good 
and bad, people who do not fear God, and feel no shame 
before their own brother. 

In a certain kingdom, in a certain land, there once 
lived a Tsar and Tsaritsa, who had one only daughter, 
Marya Tsarevna. But the old Tsaritsa died and the 
Tsar took to him a second wife, who was a witch. And 
the witch had three daughters, one of whom had one 
eye, the next two eyes, and the third had three. The 
stepmother could not abide Marya Tsarevna, and sent 
the girl with a dun cow on to the heath, and gave her 
a dry crust as her only food. 

Marya Tsarevna went on to the heath, bowed down 
to the right foot of the cow, and all at once was splendidly 
dressed, and had as much to eat and drink as she liked. 
So she guarded the dun cow the whole day, and looked 
as gay as any lady in the land. And at night she bowed 
down again in front of the right foot, and again became 
shabby and went home. And the bit of bread she took 
with her and offered it to her stepmother. 

" Whatever is she living on ? " the witch thought, and 
she gave her the same piece of bread next day, and told 
her eldest daughter' to watch what Marya Tsarevna 


When they reached the heath Marya Tsarevna said : 
" Come, Httle sister, I will find a cushion for your head." 
So she went to look, but whispered to herself : 

" Sleep, my sister, sleep. 
Sleep, O sister mine ; 
One eye go to sleep. 

Close that eye of thine." 

The sister went to sleep, and Marya Tsarevna stood 
up, went to her dear dun cow, bowed down to the right 
foot, and ate, and drank, and went about all day long 
like a princess. 

In the evening she woke up her sister and said : " Get 
up, sister ; get up, dearest ; and we will go home." 

" Oh ! oh ! oh ! " he sister whimpered, " I have been 
asleep all day long and have not seen anything, and 
mother will be so angry ! " 

When they got home, the stepmother asked : " What 
was it Marya Tsarevna ate and drank ? " 

" I did not see anything." 

So the witch scolded her, and next day sent the two- 
eyed sister with Marya. " Go," she said, " and see what 
she eats and drinks." 

And the girls came to the heath, and Marya Tsarevna 
said, " Come, little sister, I wiU find a cushion for your 
head." So she went to search, and whispered to herself : 

" Sleep, my sister, sleep, 
Sleep, O sister mine ; 
Two eyes go to sleep. 

Close both eyes of thine." 

Two-eyes went to sleep, and Marya Tsarevna bowed 
down as before, to the right foot of the cow, and looked 
like a princess all day long. In the evening she roused 
Two-eyes ; and if the stepmother was angry before, she 
was much angrier this time. 


So next day she sent Three-eyes, and Marya Tsarevna 
sent her to sleep in the same way ; only she forgot the 
third eye, and that went on looking and looking at what 
Marya Tsareyna did. For she ran to her dun cow's 
right foot, bowed down, and ate, and drank, and went 
about aU day long splendidly attired. 

And when she got home she laid the dry crust on the 
table. And the mother asked the daughter what Marya 
Tsarevna had eaten and drunk. Three-eyes told her 
everything ; and the witch ordered the dun cow to 
be slain. 

" You must be mad, woman," said the Tsar, " it's 
quite a young heifer and so beautiful ! " 

" I tell you," said the stepmother, " it must be done " ; 
and the old Tsar consented. 

But Marya Tsarevna asked him : " Father, do at least 
give me a little tiny bit out of the cow ! " 

The old man gave her the piece, and she planted it ; 
and a bush with sweet berries grew up, with little birds 
singing on it, singing songs fit for kings and peasants. 

Now Ivan Tsarevich had heard of Marya Tsarevna, 
went to her stepmother, laid a bowl on the table, and 
said : " Whichever of the maidens brings me the bowl 
fuU of berries, I will marry." 

So the mother sent One-eye to get the berries. But 
the birds drove her away from the bush and almost 
pecked out her one eye ; and so with Two-eyes and 
Three-eyes. At last Marya Tsarevna had to go. Marya 
Tsarevna took the bowl and gathered the berries, and 
the little birds helped her in the task. When she got 
home she put the bowl on the table and bowed down to 
Ivan Tsarevich. So Ivan Tsarevich took Marya Tsarevna 
to be his wife, and they celebrated a merry wedding and 
lived a happy life. 

But, after a while, Marya Tsarevna bore a son. She 
wanted to show him to her father, and, together with 


her husband, went to visit him. Then the stepmother 
turned her into a goose, and decked her eldest daughter 
as though she were the wife of Ivan Tsarevich. And 
Ivan Tsarevich returned home. 

The old man, who tended the children, got up early 
in the morning, washed himself clean, took the child on 
his arm and went out to the field, to the bush in the 
field. Grey geese were flying over it. 

" Geese, ye grey ones, where is the baby's mother ? " 

" In the next flock ! " 

Then the next flock came by. 

" Geese, ye grey ones, where is the baby's mother ? " 

Then the baby's mother came to them, threw off her 
feathers, and gave her little child the breast, and began 
weeping : 

" For this one day I may come, and to-morrow, but 
the next day I must fly away over the woods and over 
the hills." 

The old man went back home, and the boy slept all 
day long, until next morning, and did not wake up. The 
false wife was angry with lum for taking the child into 
the fields where it must be much too cold. 

But next morning the old man again got up very early, 
washed himself clean, and took the child into the field. 
Ivan Tsarevich followed him secretly and hid in the 
bush. Then the grey geese began soaring by. 

" Geese, ye grey ones, where is the baby's mother ? " 

" In the next flock ! " 

Then the next flock came by. 

" Geese, ye grey ones, where is the baby's mother ? " 

Then the baby's mother came to them, threw off her 
feathers, and gave her little child the breast, and began 
weeping : " For this one day I may come, but to- 
morrow I must fly away over the woods and over the 

Then she asked : " What do I smell there ? " and 


wanted to put on her feathers again, but could not find 
them anywhere. 

Ivan Tsarevich had burnt them. He seized hold of 
Marya Tsarevna, but she turned first into a frog, then 
into a lizard, and into all sorts of insects, and last of all 
into a spindle. Ivan Tsarevich took the spindle and 
broke it in halves, threw the dull end behind him and 
the sharp one in front ; and his beautiful young wife 
stood in front of him, and they went home. 

Then the daughter of the witch cried out : " The 
destroyer and the wicked woman have come." 

But Ivan Tsarevich assembled all the Princes and the 
boydrs, and he asked them : " With which wife shall 
I live ? " 

They said : " With the first." 

But he answered, " My lords, whichever wife leaps 
quickest to the door shall remain with me." 

So the witch's daughter climbed up at once, but 
Marya Tsarevna clung on. Then Ivan Tsarevich took 
his gun and shot the substitute wife, and lived happy 
ever after with Marya Tsarevna. 


One day a peasant was going by night with pots on his 
head. He journeyed on and on, and his horse became 
tired and came to a spot in front of God's acre. The 
peasant ungirded the horse, set it to graze, but he could 
not get any sleep. He lay down and lay down, suddenly 
the grave began opening under him, and he felt it and 
leaped to his feet. Then the grave opened and the corpse 
with the coffin lid got out, with his white shroud on; 
got out and ran up to the church door, laid the coffin 
lid at the gate and-himself went into the village. 

Now this peasant was a bold fellow : so he took the 
coffin lid and set it by his telega, and went to see what 
would come of it. Very soon the corpse came back, 
looked about him and could not find the coffin lid any- 
where, and began to hunt for it. And at last he came up 
to the peasant, and said, " Give me my coffin lid, or else 
I will smash you to atoms." 

" What are you bragging for ? " answered the peasant, 
" I wiU break you up into httle bits." 

" Do, please, give it me, dear good' man," asked the 

" Well, I will give it you if you will teU me where you 
have been and what you have done." 

" Oh, I have been in the village, and I there slew two 
young lads I " 

" Well, tell me how to revive them." 

The corpse had no choice, so he answered, " Cut off 
the left lappet from my shroud and take it with you. 
When you come to the house where the lads have died, 



scatter hot sparks into a pot and put the piece of my 
shirt there, then close the door and at the breath of it 
they will revive at once." 

So the peasant cut off the left lappet from the shroud 
and gave him back the coffin lid. Then the dead man 
went back into the grave and laid himself down in it. 
Then the cocks crowed and he could not lock it down 
properly : one corner of the coffin lid would perk up- 
wards. The peasant noticed all this. Day was breaking, 
so he yoked his horse and went into the village. 

In a certain house he could hear the sound of lamenta- 
tion and cries of grief : he went in there, and two youths 
lay dead. " Do not weep : I can revive them." 

" Do revive them, kinsman : half oi our goods we 
will give you," said the relations. 

So the peasant did as the corpse had told him, and the 
lads revived. The parents were delighted, and they 
seized hold of the peasant, and they pinioned him with 
ropes. " Now, doctor, we are going to take you up to 
the authorities: if you can revive them it must be you 
who killed them ! " 

" What, good Christians ! Have some fear for God ! " 
the peasant shrieked : and he told what he had seen at 

Soon the news spread through the village, and the 
people assembled and rushed up to the cemetery, looked 
at the grave out of which the corps'e had come, tore it 
up and dug into the dead man's heart an oaken stake, so 
that he should never rise up and kill folks. And they 
rewarded the peasant greatly and led him home with 


Once a carpenter was going home late at night from 
a strange village : he had been at a jolly feast at a friend's 
house. As he came back an old friend met him who 
had died some ten years before. 

" How do you do ? " 

" How do you do ? " said the walker, and he forgot 
that his friend had long ago taken the long road. 

" Come along with me : let us have a cup together 
once more." 

" Let us go." 

" I am so glad to have met you again, let us toast the 

So they went into an izbd,^ and they had a drink 
and a talk. " Well, good-bye ; time I went home ! " 

" Stay, where are you going ? Come and stay the 
night with me." 

" No, brother, do not ask me : it is no good. I have 
business at home to-morrow and must be there early." 

" WeU, good-bye." 

" But why should you go on foot ? Better come on 
my horse, and he will gallop along gaily." 

"Thank you very much." 

So he sat on the horse, and the horse galloped away 
like a whirlwind. 

Suddenly the cock crowed : it was a very terrible 
sight ! Graves all around, and under the wayfarer a 
gravestone ! 

1 Hut. 


They had discharged the soldier home, and he was 
going on his road, it may be far, it may be a short way, 
and he at last was nearing his village. Not far from his 
village there lived a miller in his mill : in past times the 
soldier had been great friends with him. 

Why should he not go and see his friend ? So he 

And the miller met him, greeted him kindly, brought 
a glass of wine, and they began speaking of all they had 
lived through and seen. This was towards the evening, 
and whilst the soldier was the miller's guest it had 
become dark. So the soldier got ready, to go into the 

But the miller said to him, " Soldier, stay the night 
with me : it is late and you might come by some mis- 

" What f " 

" A terrible sorcerer has died, and at night he rises 
out of the grave, ranges about the village and terrifies 
the boldest : why, he might give you trouble." 

What was the use of it ? Why, the soldier was a 
State servant, and a soldier cannot be drowned in the 
sea, nor be burned in the fire ! So he answered, " I will 
go, for I should like to see my relatives as soon as I Can." 

So he set out ; and the road crossed a grave-yard. 
As he looked he saw a glow on one grave. " What is it ? " 
he said ; " I must look at this." So he went up, and 
beside a fire there sat the sorcerer, sewing shoes. " Hail, 
brother ! " said the soldier. 


So the wizard looked, and asked, "What are you 
doing here ? " 

" I only wanted to see what you are up to." 

So the wizard threw down his work, and he invited 
the soldier to a wedding. " Let us go, brother, let us 
have a walk: there is a wedding now going on in the 

" Very well," said the soldier. 

So they went to the wedding, and were royally feasted 
and given to eat and drink. 

The wizard drank and drank, walked about and 
walked about, and grew angry, drove all the guests and 
the family out of the izbd,^ scattered all the wedding 
guests, took out two bladders and an awl, pricked the 
hands of the bride and bridegroom and drew their 
blood, filling the bladders with the blood. He did this 
and said to the' soldier, " Now we will leave the house." 

On the road the soldier asked him, " TeU me, why 
did you fill the bladders with the blood ? " 

" So that the bride and bridegroom might die. To- 
morrow nobody will be able to wake them up : I only 
know one means of reviving them." 

" What is that ? " 

" You must pierce the heels of the bride and bride-, 
groom and pour the blood again into the wounds, their 
own blood into each. In my right pocket I have the 
bridegroom's blood hidden, and in my left, the bride's." 

So the soldier listened and never said a single word. 

But the wizard went on boasting. " I, you know, 
carry out whatever I desire." 

" Can you be overcome ? " 

" Yes, certainly : if any one were to make a pile of 
aspen wood, one hundred cartloads in aU, and to burn 
me on the pile, it can be done ; then I should be over- 
come. Only you must burn me in a cunning way. Out 

1 Hut. 


of my belly snakes, worms and all sorts of reptiles will 
creep ; jackdaws, magpies and crows will fly : you must 
catch them and throw them on the pile. If a single 
worm escapes, it will be no good, for I shall creep out into 
that worm." 

So the soldier listened and remembered. So they had 
a long talk, and at last they came to the grave. 

" Now, my brother," said the wizard, " I am going to 
tear you to bits ? otherwise you will tell the tale ! " 

" Now ! Let's argue this out ! How are you going 
to tear me to bits ; I am a servant of God and the 
Tsar ! " 

So the wizard gnashed his teeth, howled, and threw 
himself on the soldier. But he drew out his sabre and 
dealt a backstroke. They tussled and struggled, and the 
soldier was almost exhausted. Ho, but this is a sorry 
ending ! Then the cocks crowed and the wizard fell 
down breathless. 

The soldier got the bladders out of the wizard's 
pockets, and went to his relations. He went in and he 
greeted them. And they asked him, " Have you ever 
seen such a fearful stir ? " 

" No, I never have ! " 

" Why, have you not heard ? There is a curse on 
our village : a wizard haunts it." 

So they lay down and went to sleep. 

In the morning the soldier rose and began asking : 
" Is it true that there was a wedding celebrated here ? " 

So his kin answered him, " There was a wedding at 
the rich peasant's house, only the bride and bridegroom 
died that same night. No, we don't know at all of what 
they died." 

" Where is the house ? " 

So they showed him, and he said never a word, and 
went there, got there, and found the whole family in 


" What are you wailing for f " 

So they told him the reason. 

" I can revive the bridal couple : what will you give 
me ? " 

" Oh, you may take half of our possessions." 

So the soldier did as the wizard had bidden him, 
and he revived the bride and bridegroom, and grief was 
turned to joy and merriment. 

They feasted the soldier and rewarded him. 

So he then turned sharp to the left and marched up 
to the stdrosta} and bade him assemble all the peasants 
and prepare one hundred cartloads of aspen boughs. 
Then they brought the boughs into the cemetery, put 
them into a pile and raised the wizard out of the grave, 
put him on the faggots and burned him. And then all 
the people stood around, some with brushes, shovels and 
pokers. The pile Ht up gaily and the wizard began to 
burn. His belly burst, and out of it crept snakes, worms 
and vermin of all sorts, and there flew jackdaws and 
magpies. But the peasants beat them aU into the fire 
as they came out, and did not let a single worm escape. 
So the wizard was burned, and the soldier collected his 
dust and scattered it to the four winds. Henceforth 
there was peace in the village. 

And the peasants thanked the soldier. 

He stayed in his country, stayed there until he was 
satisfied, and then with his money returned to the 
imperial service : he served his term, went on the re- 
tired list, and then lived out his life, living happily, 
loving the good things and shunning the iU. 

* The Mayor. 


Once there lived a peasant who had a good dog, and as 
the dog grew old it left off barking and guarding the 
yard and the storehouses : its master would no longer 
nourish it, so the dog went into the wood and lay under 
a tree to die. 

Then a bear came up and asked him, *' Hello, Dog, 
why are you lying here i " 

" I have come to die of hunger. Yqu see how unjust 
people are. As long as you have any strength, they feed 
you and give you drink ; but when your strength dies 
away and you become old they drive you from the 

" Well, Dog, would you like something to eat ? " 

" I certainly should." 

" Well, come with me ; I will feed you." 

So they went on. 

On the way a foal met them. 

" Look at me," said the bear, and he began to claw 
the ground with his paws, ■* Dog, O dog ! " 

" What do you want I " 

" Look, are my eyes beautiful ? " 

" Yes, Bear, they are beautiful," 

So the bear began clawing at the ground more savagely 
still. " Dog, O dog, is my hair dishevelled ? " 

" It is dishevelled. Bear." 

" Dog, O dog, is my tail raised ? " 

" Yes, it is raised." 

Then the bear laid hold of the foal by the tail, and 
the foal fell to the ground. The bear tore her to pieces 



and said, " Well, Dog, eat as much as you will, and when 
everything is in order, come and see me." 

So the dog lived by himself and had no cares, and 
when he had eaten all and was again hungry, he ran up 
to the bear. 

" Well, my brother, have you done ? " 

" Yes, I have done, and again I am hungry." 

" What ! Are you hungry again ? Do you know 
where your old mistress lives ? " 

"I do." 

" Well, then, come ; I will steal your mistress's child 
out of the cradle, and do you chase me away and take 
the child back. Then you may go back ; she wiU go on 
feeding you, as she formerly did, with bread." 

So they agreed, and the bear ran up to the hut himself 
and stole the child out of the cradle : the child cried, 
and the woman burst out, hunted him, hunted him, but 
could not catch him ; so they came back, and the mother 
wept, and the other women were afflicted ; from some- 
where or other the dog appeared, and he drove the bear 
away, took the child and brought it back. 

" Look," said the woman, " here is your old dog 
restoring your child ! " So they ran to meet him, and 
the mother was very glad and joyous. " Now," she said, 
" I shall never discharge this old dog any more." So 
they took him in, fed him with milk, gave him bread, and 
asked him only to taste the things. And they told the 
peasant, " Now you must keep and feed the dog, for he 
saved my child from the bear ; and you were saying he 
had no strength ! " 

This all suited the dog very well, and he ate his fiU, 
and he said, " May God grant health to the bear who 
did not let me die of hunger ! " and he became the bear's 
best friend. 

Once there was an evening party given at the peasant's 
house. At that time the bear came in as the dog's guest. 


" Hail, Dog, with what luck are you meeting ? Is it 
bread you are eating ? " 

" Praise be to God," answered the dog, " it is no mere 
living, it is butter week. And what are you doing ? Let 
us go into the izbd.^ The masters have gone out for a 
walk and will not see what you are doing. You come 
into the izba and go and hide under the stove as fast as 
you can. I will await you there and will recall you." 

" Very well." 

And so they went into the izbd. The dog saw that 
his master's guests had drunk too much, and made ready 
to receive his friend. The bear drank up one glass, then 
another, and broke it. The guests began singing songs, 
and the bear wanted to chime in. But the dog per- 
suaded him : " Do not sing, it would only do harm." 
But it was no good, for he could not keep the bear silent, 
and he began singing his song. Then the guests heard 
the noise, laid hold of a stick and began to beat him. 
He burst out and ran away, and just got away with his 

Now the peasant also had a cat, which had ceased 
catching mice, and even playing tricks. Wherever it 
might crawl it would break something or spill something. 
The peasant chased the cat out of the house. But the 
dog saw that it was going to a miserable life without any 
food, and secretly began bringing it bread and butter 
and feeding it. Then the mistress looked on, and as 
soon as she saw this she began beating the dog, beat it 
hard, very hard, and saying all the time, " Give the cat 
no beef, nor bread." 

Then, three days later, the dog went to the courtyard 
and saw that the cat was dying of starvation. " What 
is the matter ? " he said. 

" I am dying of starvation : I was able to have enough 
whilst you were feeding me." 

' Hut. 


" Come with me." 

So they went away. The dog went on, until he 
saw a drove of horses, and he began to scratch the earth 
with his paws and asked the cat, " Cat, O cat, are my 
eyes beautiful ? " 

" No, they are not beautiful." 

" Say that they are beautiful ! " 

So the cat said, " They are beautiful." 

" Cat, O cat, is my fur dishevelled ? " 

*' N(;) it is not dishevelled." 

" Say, you idiot, that it is dishevelled." 

" WeU, it is disheveUed." 

'* Cat, cat, is my tail raised ? " 

" No, it is not raised." 

'* Say, you fool, that it is raised." Then the dog 
made a dash at a mare, but the mare kicked him back, 
and the dog died. 

So the cat said, " Now I can see that his eyes are very 
red, and his fur is dishevelled, and his tail is raised. 
Good-bye, brother Dog, I will go home to die." 


In a certain kingdom, in a certain land, there was a 
gipsy who had a wife and seven children, and he lived 
so poorly that ^t last there was nothing in the house to 
eat or to drink — ^not even a crust of bread. He was too 
idle to work, and too much of a coward to thieve. So 
what could he do ? 

Well, the peasant went on the road and stood ponder- 
ing. At this time Egori the Brave was passing by. 

" Hail ! " said the peasant. " Whither are you 
faring ?. " 

" To God." 

" Why ? " 

" With a message from men wherewith each man 
should live, and wherewith each man should busy him- 

" Will you, then, send in a report about me to the 
Lord ? " the peasant said, " what He wishes me to 
engage in ? " 

" Very well — I will hand in a report," Egori said, and 
he went on his road. 

So there the peasant stood, waiting for him — ^waiting. 
And when at last he saw Egori on his way back, he asked 
him at once : " Did you hand in a report about me ? " 

" No," said Egori ; " I forgot." 

So the peasant set out on his road a second time, and 
he again met Egori, who was going to God on an errand. 
So the gipsy asked him once more : " Do please hand in 
a request on my behalf." 

" All right," said Egori. And he forgot again, 
c 17 


And so once more the peasant set out on the road, 
and once more met Egori. And he asked him for the 
third time : " Do please speak on my behalf to God ! " 

" Yes— aU right ! " 

" Will you forget again ? " 

" No, I shall not forget this time." 

Only the gipsy did not believe him. " Give me," he 
said, " your golden stirrup. I vs^iU keep it until you come 
back ; otherwise, you may once more forget." 

Egori untied his golden stirrup, gave it to the gipsy, 
and rode on farther with a single stirrup. Then he 
reached God, and he began to ask wherewith each man 
should live, and wherewith each man should busy him- 
self. In each case he received the right order, and he 
was starting back. But as soon as ever he mounted, he 
glanced down at the stirrup and recollected the gipsy. 
So he ran back to see God and said : " Oh, I forgot. 
Whilst I was coming here I met a gipsy on the way, and 
he asked me what he should do." " Oh, teU the gipsy," 
the Lord said, " that his trade is from whomsoever he 
take and steal, he, then, shall cheat and perjure himself." 

So Egori went and mounted his horse, came up to the 
gipsy, and told him : " I shall now teU you the truth. If 
you had not taken the stirrup, I should have forgotten 
all about it." 

" I thought as much," said the gipsy. " Now, for all 
eternity, you cannot forget me if you only look down at 
your stirrup, and I shall be always in your mind. Well, 
what did the Lord say to you ? " 

" Oh, He told me from whomsoever you take or steal 
you will cheat and perjure yourself ; that wiU be your 

" Thank you very much," said the gipsy, and he 
bowed down to the ground, and went home. 

" Where are you going ? " said Egori. " Give me my 
golden stirrup ! " 


" What stirrup ? " 

" Didn't you take one from me ? " 

" How in the world could I take one from you ? This 
is the first time I have seen you, and I have not even had 
a stirrup. Before God ! — I never have ! " And so the 
gipsy perjured himself. 

What could he do ? He could struggle and fight it 
out, Egori could, and so he did ; but it was all no good. 
It is perfectly true, and the gipsy spoke the truth : " If 
I had not given him the stirrup ! — if I had not only 
known him ! Now I shall forget him no more." 

So the gipsy took the golden stirrup and began hawking 
it. And as he went on his way, a fine lord came and met 
him. " Hullo, gipsy ! " he said. " Will you sell the 
stirrup ? " 

" Yes— all right ! " 

" What will you take ? " 

" Fifteen hundred roubles." 

" Much too dear, isn't that ? " 

" Well, you see, it is all gold." 

" Very well ! " said his lordship ; and he put his 
hand into his pocket, and he only had a thousand. " You 
just take this thousand, gipsy, and then give me the 
stirrup : I will send you on the odd five hundred." 

" Oh, no, my lord ! One thousand roubles I will cer- 
tainly take, but I shall not give up the stirrup. When 
you carry out your part of the bargain, then you shall 
receive the stirrup." So the lord gave him the thousand, 
and he went home. 

The very instant he got there he took out five hundred 
roubles, and sent his man up to the gipsy, telUng him to 
give the money to him and to take the golden stirrup. 

When his lordship's groom came to the gipsy's izhd,^ 
" Hail, gipsy ! " he said. " How fare you, good man ? 
I have brought you the money from his lordship." 

» Hut. 


" Well, give it me if you have brought it." So the 
gipsy took the five hundred roubles, and gave the man 
a glass of wine, and then another, until the man had 
his fill. 

And when he had had his fill the groom began to make 
his way home, and said to the peasant : " Now give me 
the golden stirrup." 

" What ? " 

" Yes — the stirrup which you sold my master." 

" What, / sold it ! I never had a golden stirrup ! " 

" Well, then, give me the money back." 

" What money ? " 

" But I just gave you five hundred roubles ! " 

" I have not even seen a grivennik^ — ^never in my Hfe ! 
I looked after you kindly, simply for the sake of our Lord, 
and not in the least in order to get any money out of 
you." And in this manner the gipsy had disavowed 

When the master had heard of this, he instantly 
started out to see the gipsy. " What on earth do you 
mean, you vile thief, by taking money and not giving 
up the golden stirrup ? " 

" What golden stirrup ? Now do, my lord, think a 
little. How is it possible for a grey, hoary old peasant 
like me to possess a golden stirrup ? " 

Then the master became angrier and angrier, but he 
could not find it. " Well, we will come to court ! " he 

" Oh, please," the gipsy answered, " please think-! 
How in the world can I come in your company ? You 
are a lord, and I am only a blockhead — I am only a dolt 
and a mere hind. At least you might dress me in a fine 
costume if we are to go together." So the master dressed 
him in his own dress, and they journeyed together to the 
town for the case to be tried. 

' Ten kopeks. 


When they came into the town, the master said : " I 
bought o£ this peasant a golden stirrup. He took the 
money for it and will not deliver the chattel." 

And the peasant answered : " My Lords Justices, do 
you think it out for yourselves, however could one get a 
golden stirrup out of a grey-haired peasant ? Why, I 
have not a single loaf at home. And I really cannot 
imagine what this fine gentleman wants of me. Why, 
he wiU even be saying next that I am wearing his clothes." 

" But the dress is mine ! " the master shrieked out. 

" There you are, my Lords Justices ! " 

After this the case came to an end, and the master 
went back home without getting anything, and the pea- 
sant went on living merrily — living on and gaining 
nothing but good. 


Good Prince Vladimir had many henchmen and serfs 
in the city of Kiev, and amongst them there was Danilo 
the Unfortunate, the noble. And on Sundays Prince 
Vladimir used to give all his servants goblets fiUed with 
wine, but Danilo good hard blows ; and on great feast 
days every one was sated, but Danilo had nothing. 

On the eve of Easter Sunday Prince Vladimir sum- 
moned Danilo the Unfortunate, and he gave him eighty 
score of sable skins, and he bade him sew a shuba^ for 
the feast : the sable skins were not prepared, and the 
buttons had not been moulded, and the buttonholes 
had not been made. In the buttons he was bidden 
mould the wild beasts of the wood and to sew into the 
buttonholes all the seabirds. 

Danilo the Unfortunate loathed the task, so he hurled 
it away, and he went outside. He went out on his road 
and way, and shed tears. An old woman came to meet him. 
" Look, Danilo," she said, " do not rend yourself asunder: 
why are you crying, Danilo the Unfortunate ? " 

" Oh, you old fatty ! " he exclaimed, " shivers and 
shakes, quivers and quakes ! Be off ! this has nothing 
to do with you ! " Then he went on a little way and 
thought, " Why did I bid her remove ? " So he ap- 
proached her again and said, " Babushka,^ little dove, 
forgive me : this is my trouble. Prince Vladimir has 
given me eighty score of sable skins, of which I am to 
make a shuba in the morjiing. If only the buttons had 
been moulded and the silken buttonholes sewn ! But 
' Fur mantle. " Grandmother. 


there are to be lions moulded on to the buttons, and 
there are to be shepherds embroidered on to the button- 
holes that should have sung and warbled. How am I to 
set about it ? It would be better for me to drink vodka 
behind the counter," 

Then the old woman, with her patched skirt, said, 
" Oh, I am now ' Babushka ' and your ' little dove ' ! 
Do you go to the border of the blue sea, and stand in 
front of the grey oak : at the hour of midnight the blue 
sea will boil over and Chiido-Yuda, the Old Man of the 
Sea, will come out to you : he has no hands, no feet, and 
he has a grey beard. Take hold of him by his beard and 
beat him until he asks you, ' Why do you beat me, 
Danilo the Unfortunate ? ' Then you are to answer, 
' I am beating you for this reason : let me see the 
Swan,^ the fair maiden ; let her body glint through her 
wings, and through her body let her bones appear, and 
from bone to bone let the marrow run like a flowing 
string of pearls.' " 

Then Danilo the Unfortunate went to the blue sea, 
and he stood in front of the dusky oak : and at mid- 
night the blue sea was disturbed and Chudo-Yiida, the 
Old Man of the Sea, appeared before him. He had no 
hands, he had no feet, and his beard was grey. Danilo 
seized him by his beard and began to beat him on to 
the grey earth. Then at last Chiido-Yuda asked him : 
" Why do you beat me, Danilo the Unfortunate ? " 
" For this reason : let me see the Swan, the fair maiden ; 
let her body glint through her wings, and through her 
body let her bones appear, and from bone to bone let 
the marrow run like a flowing string of pearls." 

Very soon the Swan, the fair maiden, swam up to the 
shore, and she spoke in this wise : 

" Is it work on your way, 
Or for sloth do you stay ? " 

• Another variant, " the Fearsome Swan." 


" Oh, Swan, fair maiden, I have a double task : Prince 
Vladimir has Isidden me sew a shuba, and the sables are 
not prepared, the buttons are not moulded, and the 
buttonholes are not sewn." 

" You take me with you, and it will all be done in 

Then he began to think in his thoughts, " How shall 
I take her with me ? " 

" Now, Danilo, what are you thinking ? " 

" I must do as you say : I will take you with me." 

So she flapped her wings, and she moved her little 
head, and said, " Turn to me with your white face ; we 
will build for ourselves a princely house. Shake your 
locks, that our house may have rooms." Then twelve 
youths appeared, all of them carpenters, sawyers, stone- 
hewers ; and they set to work, and the house was soon 

Then Danilo took her by her right hand, and he 
kissed her on her sweet lips, and he led her into the 
princely home. They sat down at a table, ate and drank. 
They refreshed themselves, and their hands met at one 
table. " Now, Danilo, go to rest and to bed ; think of 
nothing else ; it will all be done." So she laid him to 
sleep and herself went out to the crystal flight of steps. 
And she waved her pinions and she shook her little head : 
" My father," she cried, " send me your craftsmen ! " 

And the twelve youths appeared and asked, " Swan- 
bird, fair maiden, what do you bid us do ? " 

" Sew me -this shuba at once : the sables are not pre- 
pared, the buttons are not moulded, the buttonholes 
are not sewn." 

So they set to work : one of them made the sables 
ready and sewed the shuba, one of them worked the 
forge and moulded the buttons, and one of them sewed 
the buttonholes, and in a minute, wondrously, the shuba 
was made. 


Then the Swan-bird, the fair maiden, came up and 
woke Danilo the Unfortunate : " Arise, my dear friend, 
the shuba is ready, and the church-belis are ringing in 
the city of Kiev : it is time for you to arise and to pre- 
pare for matins." 

DanHo arose, put on the shuba, and went : she looked 
out of the window, stayed, gave him a silver staff, and 
bade him, " When you leave matins, stand on the right 
side of the choir as the choir leave, raise your hands and 
strike the sable shuba, and the birds will sing joyously 
and the lions roar fearsomely. Then take the shuba 
from yotir shoulders and array Prince Vladimir at that 
instant, lest he forget us. He will then summon you 
as a guest, and will give you a glass of wine. Do not 
drink the glass to the bottom : if you drink it to the 
bottom no good wiU befall you ; and do not boast of 
me : do not boast that we built a house together in a 
single night." 

Danilo took the silver staff and hied away, and she 
again stayed him on his course, and she gave him three 
little eggs, two of silver, one of gold, and said, " With 
the silver eggs give the Easter greeting to the Prince and 
the Princess, but the golden one keep and live your life 
along with it." 

Danilo the Unfortunate bade farewell to her and 
went to matins. All the people wondered. " Look 
what a fine man Danilo the Unfortunate has become : 
he has made the shnba and he has brought it with him 
for the feast." 

After the Mass, he went up to the Prince and Princess, 
and he gave them the Easter greeting, but carelessly 
took out the golden egg. Alyosha Popovich saw this, the 
Mocker of Women. As they went out of the church, 
Danilo the Unfortunate struck himself on the breast 
with the silver staff, and the birds sang and the lions 
roared ; and all the folk were amazed and gazed at 


Danilo. But Alyosha Popovich, the Mocker of Women, 
dressed himself as a sorry beggar and asked for holy alms. 
They all gave to him ; only Danflo the Unfortunate 
alone said and thought, " What shall I give him ? I 
have nothing to give." So, as it was Easter Day, he gave 
him the golden egg. Alyosha Popovich took that golden 
egg and changed into his former garb. 

Prince Vladimir summoned them all to him, aU to his 
palace to dessert : so they ate and drank and were re- 
freshed, and they exalted themselves. Danilo drank 
until he was drunk ; and, when he was drunk, made boast 
of his wife. Alyosha Popovich bragged at the feast 
that he knew Danilo's wife. Bur Danilo said, " If you 
know my wife you may cut off my head ; and, if you do 
not know her, you shall forfeit your own." 

So Alyosha Popovich, the Mocker of Women, went 
whither his eyes might go, and he went and wept. 

Then the old woman met him on his way and asked, 
" Why are you weeping, Alyosha Popovich ? " 

" Go away, old woman with the swollen beUy ; I have 
naught to do with you." 

" Yet I shall be of service to you." 

Then he began to ask her, " O my own grandmother, 
what did you wish to tell me ? " 

" Ha ! am I now your own grandmother ? " 

" O, I was boasting I knew Danilo's wife ! " 

"O bdtyushka,^ how do you know her: was there 
any little bird that told you ? Do you go up to a certain 
house and invite her to feast with the Prince. She will 
wash herself, busk herself, and put a little chain out of 
the window. You take that chain and show it to Danilo 
the Unfortunate." 

So Alyosha Popovich, the Mocker of Women, went to 
the window jamb, and called the Swan-bird, the fair 
maiden, to dine with the Prince. She was starting to 

' Little Father. 


wash herself, busk herself, and make ready for the feast, 
and that moment Alyosha Popovich seized her little 
chain, ran up into the palace, and showed it to Danilo 
the Unfortunate. 

So Prince Vladimir said to Danilo the Unfortunate, 
" I see now that you must forfeit your head." 

" Let me go home and bid farewell to my wife." So 
he went home and said, " O fair Swan-maiden, what 
have I done ? I became drunk and I bragged of you 
and have lost my life." 

" I know it all, Danilo the Unfortunate. Go, summon 
the Prince and Princess here as your guests, and all the 
burghers and generals and field-marshals and boydrs." 

" But the Prince will not come out in the mud and the 
mire ! " (For the roads were bad, and the blue sea 
became stormy ; the marshes surged and opened.) 

" You are to tell him : ' Have no fear. Prince Vladimir : 
across the rivers have been built hazel-tree bridges, the 
transoms are of oak covered with cloth of purple and 
with nails of tin. The shoes of the doughty warrior 
wiU not be soiled, nor wiU the hoofs of his horse be 
smeared.' " 

So Danilo the Unfortunate invited them as guests ; 
and the Swan-bird, the fair maiden, stepped out to her 
window, flapped her wings, shook her little head, and 
there was a bridge laid from her house to the palace of 
Prince Vladimir. It was covered with cloth of purple, 
tacked in with tacks of tin ; and on one side flowers grew, 
nightingales sang, and on the other side apple-trees and 
fruits bloomed and ripened. 

The Prince and Princess made ready to be guests, and 
they set out on their journey with all their noble host 
with them, crossed the first river, which ran with splendid 
beer. And very many soldiers fell down by that beer. 
Then they advanced to the second river, \vhich ran with 
wonderful mead, and more than half of the brave host 


bent down to drink the mead and rolled on their sides. 
So they came to the third river, which ran with glorions 
wine. Here all the officers bent down and drank till 
they were drunk. At the fourth river powerful vodka 
flowed. And the Prince looked backwards : all of his 
generals were lying on their backs. Only the Prince was 
left with three companions — ^with the Princess, Alyosha 
Popovich, the Mocker of Women, and Danilo the Un- 

Then the invited guests arrived, and they entered into 
the lofty palace : there were tables standing, and the 
tablecloths were of siUc, and the chairs painted with 
many colours. They sat down at the tables : there were 
all sorts of dishes and of foreign drinks. There were 
no^ bottles, no mere pints — entire rivers flowed ! Prince 
Vladimir and the Princess drank nothing, tasted nothing, 
only looked on. When would the Swan, the fair maiden, 
come out ? And they sat long at the table, waited for 
her long, until it was time to go home. Danilo the 
Unfortunate called her once, and twice, and a third 
time, but she would not come and see her guests. 

Alyosha Popovich, the Mocker of Women, then said, 
" If this had been my wife I should have taught her to 
obey ! " 

Then the Swan-bird, the fair maiden, came out and 
stood at the window, and she said these words : " This 
is how we teach our husbands ! " And so she flapped 
hfer wings, moved her little head, and flew about : and 
there the guests sat on mounds in the bog. 

One way the waters tossed, 

On the other lay woe, 
On the third side naught but moss, 

On the fourth side— Oh ! 

" Get up, Prince, and avaunt ! Let Danilo sit at the 
head of the tabfe." 


So they went back all the way to their palace, and they 
were covered with mud from head to foot. 

I myself then should have liked to see the Prince and 
Princess ; and they were just poking their heads out of 
the door, but, whilst it was opening, I slipped and fell 
down flat. 


Once there lived an old man, and he was such a sorry- 
drunkard as words cannot describe. He used to go to 
the drinking-booth, drink green wine, and crawl away 
home through the hops. And his road lay across a 

When he came to the river, he did not dally to think ; 
but slipped off his boots, hung them on his head, and 
wandered at ease till he came into the middle, stumbled 
and fell into the water, and was heard o£ no more. 

But he had a son, Ugly Peter, Petrusha. When 
Petriisha saw that his father had vanished utterly, he 
became melancholy, and wept, had a Requiem Mass 
sung for his soul, and began to adminster the property. 

One day, on a Sunday, he went to church to pray to 
God. As he was going on his way, in front of him there 
was a woman crawling along, going slowly, slowly, 
stumbling on the reeds, and scolding hard : " What the 
devil knocks you against me ! " 

Petrusha heard her ugly language, and said : " Good- 
day, Auntie ; where are you going ? " 

" I am off to church. Gossip, to pray to God." 

" But is not it very sinful of you, going to church to 
pray to God, and then invoking the Unholy Spirit ? 
You stumbled, and then invoked the devil ! " 

Well, he went on, and he heard Mass, and went on 
and on ; and suddenly, from somewhere or other, there 
stood in front of him a fine youth who bowed down to 
him and said : " Thank you, Petrusha, for your good 



" What are you ? Why do you thank me ? " Petriisha 

" Oh, I am the Devil, and I am thanking you because 
when the old woman was stumbling along and barking 
at me uselessly, you put in a good word for me." And 
he began to beseech him : " Do come, Petriisha, and be 
my guest, and I wiU give you a reward — gold and silver 
— ^ali you wish." 

" All right ! " said Petrusha ; " I will come." 

And the Devil gave him his directions, and instantly 
vanished, and Petrusha went back home. 

Next day Petrusha went to pay a visit to the Devil — 
went on and went on for three whole days ; and he got 
into a deep wood — into the dreary and darksome forest 
where he could not see the sky. And in that forest 
there stood a rich palace ; and when he came to the 
palace, a fair maiden saw him. She had been stolen from 
a village by the Unholy Spirit. She saw him and asked : 
" Why have you come here, doughty youth ? Here the 
devils live, and they will tear you to tatters." 

Petrusha told her how and why he had come to this 

" Well, look you to it," the fair maiden said ; " the 
devils are going to give you gold and silver — do not take 
any of it. Only ask them to give you the sorry horse 
on which the unholy spirits load their fuel and water. 
This horse is your father. When he got drunk and 
fell into the water, the devils instantly got hold of 
him, turned him into a horse, and now he serves as 
the beast of burden to carry their wood and water for 

Then that same youth came forward who had invited 
Petrusha to pay him a visit, and he began to entertain 
him with all sorts of sweetmeats and drinks. Then the 
time came for Petriisha's departure home. 

" As a parting gift," the Devil said to him, " I will 


give you money, and a splendid horse, and you shall ride 
home royally." 

" This is o£ no use to me," Petriisha answered. " But 
if you will give me anything, give me that sorry jade — 
that battered jade which carries your wood and water." 

" Whatever use is that sorry nag to you ? Why, you 
will hardly get home on it ! Why, it tumbles down if 
you look at it ! " 

" I don't mind about that ; give it to me ; it is the 
only thing I will take." 

So the devils gave him the sorry jade. Petrusha took 
it and led it out to the entrance. As soon as he was at 
the outside, he met the fair maiden, who asked : " Have 
you got the horse ? " 

" Yes, I have." 

"Then, fair youth, when you arrive at your village, 
take the cross off from your neck and pass it round the 
horse three times, and then hang the cross on its head." 

Petrusha bowed down to her, and set on his way ; 
and he arrived at his village, and did all the maiden had 
commanded : took his copper cross from his neck, 
passed it three times round the horse, and hung the cross 
on its head. And all at once it was the horse no longer ; 
but, instead, became his own father. 

The son looked at the father, shed hot tears, and took 
him into his own izbd.^ The old man lived for three 
days without speaking, and could not unseal his tongue. 
After that, they lived on in all good luck and happiness. 

The old man altogether forsook being drunk ; and to 
his last day not a drop of wine passed his lips. 

> Hut, 


This story is a story of the past — o£ the days when Christ 
and the Twelve Apostles still walked on earth. ^ 

One day they were still on their road, going on a long, 
long road, and a wolf met them and said : " Lord, I am 
feeling hungry." 

" Go," Christ said to him, " and eat a mare." 

So the wolf went to look for a mare. 

And he saw her going up a-nd down, and said : " Mare, 
the Lord has bidden me eat you ! " 

So she answered : " Well, please do not eat me — ^it is 
not the proper thing. But I have a passport on me ; 
only it is driven in very hard." 

" Well, show it me." 

" Just come near my hind feet ! " 

So the wolf went up, and she kicked him with her 
hoofs, and knocked out his front teeth, so that the 
wolf was thrown, at a blow, three sazhens'^ away, and the 
mare ran off. 

Back the wolf came with a petition, met Christ, and 
said : " Lord, the mare almost killed me ! " 

" Well, go on and eat the ram." 

So the wolf ran up to the ram — ^ran up and said : 
" Ram, I am going to eat you — :it is the command of the 

*' Well, come and eat me up if you will. I will stand 

' This is a simple instance of the pr'iskazha or preface to a story, 
«JA sazhin is seven feet, 

P 33 


on the hill, and will jump up into your mouth all 

So the wolf stood on the hill, and the ram told him to 
open his mouth. So the wolf went and stood on the 
hiU and opened his mouth for the food, and the ram 
ran down and hit him hard with the horns on his fore- 
head — zvhack ! The wolf was knocked off his feet, and 
the ram went away. And the wolf got up, looked all 
round, and there was never a sign of the ram. 

So he went up with another complaint. And he found 
Christ and said : " Lord, even the ram has deceived me. 
Why, it almost knocked me to bits." 

" All right ! " said Christ, " go and eat the tailor." 

So the wolf ran up, and he met a tailor on the way. 
" Tailor," he said, " I am going to eat you, by command 
of the Lord." 

" All right. Let me say good-bye — I should like to 
gteet my kin." 

" No, I cannot let you say good-bye with your kin." 

" Well, I cannot help it — ^it must be so. Come and 
eat me up. Only at least let me take your measurements. 
I only want to see whether I shall slip in easily." 

" AU right ! — ^measure away," said the wolf. 

So the tailor went back, took hold of the wolf by his 
tail, twined his tail round in his hand, and began to 
whip the wolf. And the wolf struggled and tussled, 
roared and shrieked, and tore until he tore his tail loose, 
and he then took to his feet. So he ran away with all of 
his might, and he met seven other wolves. They said : 
" Why are you, grey wolf, taiUess ? " 

" Oh, the tailor tore it out." 

" Where is the tailor ? " 

" You see him there, on the road." 

" All right — ^we will hunt after him." And they 
started after the tailor. 

When the tailor heard the chase coming after him, 


■' and saw that it was a disagreeable business, he scaled up 
a tree as fast as he could. So the wolves arrived there 
and said : " We will stop here, brothers, and wait until 
the tailor comes down. Do 70U, manx-wolf, stop below, 
and we will each of us climb on the other's shoulders." 
So the manx-wolf lay at the bottom, and aU the seven 
wolves went after the others and climbed up. 

When the tailor saw his iU-fate coming so near him, 
for they were nearer and nearer, he cried out to the top 
one : " It is nobody's fault, only the manx-wolf's ! " 
So the manx-wolf was frightened, and jumped out from 
below and ran off. All the seven wolves tumbled down 
and chased after him, caught him up, and tore him to 
bits. But the tailor slid down the tree and went back 


Once a peasant lived with his wife, and they had three 
daughters^ two were finely dressed and clever, but the 
third was a simple girl ; the sisters and the father and 
mother as well called her the Little Fool. They hustled 
the Little Fool, thrust her about this way and that and 
forced her to work. She never said a word and was 
always ready to weed the grass, break off lamp-splinters, 
feed the cows and ducks, and whatever anybody asked 
for the Little Fool would bring. They had only to say, 
" Fool, go and fetch this ! " or " Fool, come and look 
here ! " 

One day the peasant went with his hay to the fair, 
and he asked his daughters, " What shall I bring you 
as your fairing ? " 

One daughter asked, " Buy me some red cloth for a 
sarafan. The other asked, " Buy me some scarlet 
nankin." But the Fool sat stiU and said nothing. 

Well, after all, the Fool was his daughter, and her 
father felt sorry for her, so he asked her, " What would 
you like to have, Fool ? " 

So the Fool smiled and said, " Buy me, my own father, 
a silver saucer and a crystal apple." 

" What do you mean ? " asked the sisters. 

" I should then roll the apple on the saucer, and 
should speak words which an old woman taught me in 
return for my giving her a loaf of white bread." So 
the peasant promised, and went away. 

Whether he went far or near, whether he took long or 



short, anyhow he went to the fair, sold his hay, bought 
the fairings, gave his one daughter the scarlet nankin, 
the other the red cloth for. a sarafan and the Fool a 
silver saucer and a crystal apple. He came back home 
and he showed them. Both sisters were overjoyed, 
sewed sarafans, and mocked the Fool, and waited to 
see what she would do with her silver saucer and crystal 
apple. But the Fool did not eat the apple, but sat in a 
corner and whispered, " Roll, roll, roll, little apple, on 
the silver saucer, and show me all the cities and the fields, 
all the woods and the seas, and the heights of the hills 
and the fairness of heaven." 

Then the apple rolled about on the saucer; a trans- 
parency came over the silver ; and, on the saucer, aU the 
cities, one after the other, became visible, all the ships on 
the seas, and the regiments in the fields, and the heights 
of the mountains, and the beauties of the sky. Sunset 
appeared after sunset and the stars gathered in their 
nocturnal dances,: it was all so beautiful and so lovely 
as no tale can tell and no pen can write. 

Then the sisters looked on and they became envious 
and wanted to take the saucer away from their sister, 
but she would not exchange her saucer for anything 
else in the world. So the evil sisters walked about, called 
out and began to talk. " Oh, my darling sisters, let us 
go into the wood and pick berries and look for wild 
strawberries ! " So the Fool gave her saucer to her 
father and herself went into the wood. She wandered 
about with her sisters, plucked the strawberries, and 
saw a spade lying on the grass ; then the other sisters 
took the spade and began beating the Fool with it, slew 
the Fool, buried her under a silver birch, and came back 
to their father late at night, saying, " The Little Fool 
ran away from us, we could not find her, we went all 
over the wood searching for her. We suppose the 
wolves must have eaten her up." But the father was 


sorry. She was a Fool, but she was his daughter after 
all, and so the peasant wept for his daughter, took the 
silver saucer and the apple, put them into a coffer and 
locked them up. And the sisters also wept for her. 

Soon a herd came by and the trumpet sounded at 
dawn. But the shepherd was taking his flock, and at 
dawn he sounded his trumpet and went into the wood 
to look for a little lamb. He saw a little hummock 
beside a silver birch, and on it all around ruby-red and 
azure flowers, and bulrushes standing above the flowers. 
So the young shepherd broke a bulrush, made a pipe of 
it, and a wonderful wonder happened, a marvellous 
marvel: the pipe began of itself to sing and to speak. 
" Play on, play on, my little pipe. Console my father, 
console my guiding light, my father, and tell my mother 
of me, and my sisters, the little doves. For they killed 
me, the poor one, and for a silver saucer have severed 
me from light, all for my enchanted apple." 

People heard and ran together, the entire village 
thronged round the shepherd, asked him who had been 
slain. There was no end to the question. " Good folks 
all," said the shepherd, " I do not know anything about 
it. I was looking for a little sheep in the wood, and I 
saw a knoU, on the knoU flowers, and a bulrush over the 
knoll. I broke off a bulrush, carved myself a pipe out 
of it, and the pipe began singing and speaking of itself." 

Now it so happened that the father of the Little 
Fool was there, heard the words of the shepherd, wanted 
to lay hold of the pipe, when the pipe began singing, 
" Play on, play on, little pipe : this is my father ; con- 
sole him with my mother. My poor little self they 
slew, they withdrew from the white world, all for the 
sake of my silver vessel and crystal apple." 

" Lead us, shepherd," said the father, " where you 
broke off the bulrush." So they followed the shepherd 
into the wood and to the knoll, and they were amazed 


at the beautiful flowers, ruby-red, sky-blue, that grew 

Then they began to dig up the knoll and discovered 
the dead body. The father clasped his hands, groaned 
as he recognised his unfortunate daughter, saw her lying 
there slain, not knowing by whom she had been buried. 
And all the good folks asked who had been the slayers, 
who had been the murderers. Then the pipe began play- 
ing and speaking of itself. " O my light, my father, my 
sisters called me to the wood : they killed me here to 
get my saucer, my silver saucer, and my crystal apple. 
You cannot raise me from my heavy sleep till you get 
water from the Tsar's well." 

The two envious sisters trembled, paled, and their 
soul was in flames. They acknowledged their guilt. 
They were seized, bound, locked up in a dark vault at 
the Tsar's pleasure. But the father set out on his way 
to the capital city. The road was long or short. At last 
he reached the town and came up to the palace. The 
Tsar, the little sun, was coming down the golden stair- 
case. The old man bowed down to the earth and asked 
for the Tsar's mercy. Then the Tsar, the hope, said, 
" Take the water of life from the Tsar's well. When 
your daughter revives, bring her here with the saucer, 
the apple, and the evil-doing sisters." 

The old man was overjoyed, bowed down to earth 
and took the phial with the living water, ran into the 
wood to the flowery knoll, and took up the body. As 
soon as ever he sprinkled it with the water his daughter 
sprang up in front of him alive, and hung like a dove 
upon her father's neck. All the people gathered together 
and wept. The old man went to the capital city. He 
was taken into the Tsar's rooms. The Tsar, the little 
sun, appeared, saw the old man with his three daughters, 
two tied by the hands, and the third daughter like a 
spring flower, the light of Paradise in her eyes, with the 


dawn on her face, tears flowing in her eyes, falling like 

The Tsar looked and was amazed, and was wroth with 
the wicked sisters. He asked the fair maiden, " Where 
are your saucer and the crystal apple ? " 

Then she took the little coffer out of her father's 
hands, took out the apple and the saucer, and herself 
asked the Tsar, " What do you want to see, O Tsar my 
Emperor ? Would you like to see your powerful cities, 
your valorous hosts, your ships on the sea, or the wonder- 
ful stars of the sky ? " And she let the crystal apple 
roll about on the silver saucer, and on the saucer one after 
the other all the towns appeared in their shape ; all the 
regiments with their banners and their arquebuses 
standing in warlike array, the leaders in front of the 
lines arid the colonels in front of the platoons and the 
sergeants in front of their companies. And the guns 
fired and the shots flew, and the smoke wreathed and 
writhed : it was all visible to the eye. Then again the 
apple rolled about on the saucer, the crystal on the silver, 
and the sea could be seen billowing on the shore, and 
the ships swimming like swans, flags flying, issuing from 
the stern, and the noise of guns and cannon-smoke 
arriving like wreaths, all visible to the eye. Then again 
the apple rolled on the saucer, the crystal on the silver, 
and the sky was red on the saucer, and little sun after 
little sun made its round, and the stars gathered on their 
dance. The Tsar was amazed at this wonder. 

But the fair maiden was lost in tears and fell down at 
the Tsar's feet and begged for mercy, saying, " Tsar, 
your Majesty," she said, " take my silver saucer and 
crystal apple if you will only forgive my sisters, and do 
not destroy them for my sake." 

And the Tsar was melted by her tears and pardoned 
them at her request. She for sheer joy shouted out and 
fell upon her sisters. The Tsar looked round, was 


amazed, took the fair maiden by the hand, said to her in 
a kindly voice, " I must for your goodness love your 
beauty : will you be my wife and the Tsaritsa of my 
fair realm ? " 

" Tsar, your Majesty," answered the fair maiden, 
" it is your imperial will, but it is the father's wiU which 
is law amongst the daughters, and the blessing of their 
mother. If my father will, if my mother will bless me, 
I wiU." 

Then the father bowed down to earth, and he sent 
for the mother, and the mother blessed her. 

" Yet I have one word more for you," said the fair 
maiden to the Tsar : " Do not separate my kin from 
me, let my mother and my father and my sisters remain 
with me." 

Then the sisters bowed down to her feet, and said, 
" We are not worthy ! " 

" It has all been forgotten, my beloved sisters," she 
said to them ; "ye are my kin, ye are not strangers. He 
who bears in mind an ill bygone has lost his sight." 
And as she said this, she smiled and raised her sisters up. 

And her sisters wept from sheer emotion, as the rivers 
flow, and would not rise from the ground. 

Then the Tsar bade them rise and looked on them 
kindly, bidding them remain in the city. 

There was a feast in the palace : the front steps 
ghttered and glowed as though with flame, like the sun 
enwreathed in his beams. The Tsar and the Tsaritsa 
sat on a chariot, and the earth trembled, and the people 
ran up crying out, " Long live the Tsar and Tsaritsa ! " 


Once upon a time there was a Tsar and Tsaritsa who 
had only one son. The Tsar one day had to leave home, 
and in his absence a disaster befell them ; the Tsarevich 
disappeared. They searched and searched for the 
Tsarevich, dragging the ponds. Not a breath nor a 
sound could be heard of him. So fifteen years went by, 
until at last the Tsar received news that in a certain 
village a peasant had found a child who was a wonder for 
his beauty and his cleverness. 

So the Tsar ordered the peasant to be brought to him 
as soon as possible : he was brought, and the Tsar began 
asking him where he had found the boy. The peasant 
explained that he had found him fifteen years ago in a 
corn kiln, with strange and rich clothing on him ; and 
by every sign he was the Tsar's own son. 

So the Tsar told the peasant, " TeU your foundling 
that he is to come to me neither naked nor dressed, nor 
on foot nor on horseback, neither by day nor by night, 
neither in the courtyard nor in the street." 

So the peasant went back home, wept and told the 
boy. How on earth was it to be done ! 

But the boy replied, " That is easy enough : I can 
guess this riddle." 

So he took and undressed himself from head to foot, 
put a net on himself, came on a goat, came up to the 
Tsar at twilight, and mounted the goat at the gate, 
leaving the fore-feet of the goat on the courtyard and 
the hind-feet in the street. 

When the Tsar saw this, he became convinced and 
said, " This must be my son ! " 



The Sun is thirty times the size it appears : looks very 
small because it is very high up from the earth. 

The Sun has an apparel and a crown which would 
befit a Tsar, and fifteen thousands of angels of the Lord 
accompany him and deck him every day. And when 
the Sun wanes to the West, then the angels strip off 
from him that garb and crown which would befit a 
Tsar, and lay it on the throne of the Lord. 

Three angels remain with the Sun and make him 
ready, and God has consigned one hundred angels to 
enrobe the Sun in an apparel and a crown meet for a 

And when the Sun arises from the East crossing to 
the West, then fiery phoenixes and the Ksdlavy of para- 
dise fly in front of the Sun, but first wet their wings in 
the waters of the ocean and asperse with their wings 
the Sun that he may not sear them with his golden rays. 

But from the fire of the Sun the feathers even of these 
birds are consumed, because they are scorched away. 
And they again bathe in the ocean and are renewed. 

For this reason the cock is a prophet, and it has under 
its wings a white feather belonging to the other birds. 

And when the Sun wanes to the West, then the cock's 
feathers warp. 

But when the Lord's angels take the dress and the 
crown from the throne of the Lord, the cock awakens, 
lifts up his voice, flutters with his wings, the first time 



to announce the resurrection to the world and to tell the 
angels of the law ; then to say : " O Christ, Giver of 
Light, look down on us and bestow on the world Thy 
light " ; and the third time to sing : " Christ is the Life 
and accomplishes all things." And thus the cock sings 
to the light, magnifies its Creator, and announces joy to 
the just. Amen. 


In a certain city there was a merchant and his wife and 
their son, who was wise beyond his years ; he was called 
Vasili. Once all three were lunching togetlier, and in 
a cage there was a Nightingale singing over the table, 
singing so woefully that the merchant could not bear 
it, and he said, " If there ever were a man who could 
xeaHy teU me what that Nightingale is saying and the 
doom he is foreboding, I should lite to meet him : I 
would give him in my life half of my possessions, and 
after iny death I would bequeath him many goods." 

Then the little boy, who was only six years old, looked 
his father and mother fixedly in the eyes and said, " I 
know what the Nightingale is singing, only I am fright- 
ened of saying it." 

" Speak out openly," said the mother and father. 

Aad then Vasili said with tears, " The Nightingale is 
foretelling that a time and season is coming when you 
will be my servants, when father will draw me water and 
mother will give me the towel to wipe my face and handsJ" 

These words made the merchant and his wife very 
angry, so they decided to get rid of their child ; they 
built a little boat, and in the dark of night, put the 
sleeping boy into it and let it sail into the open sea. 

Just then the prophetic Nightingale flew out of its 
cage into the boat and sat on the boy's shoulder. Then 
the boat came to the sea-shore, and a ship came to meet 
it with all its sails spread. The master of the ship saw 
the boy, pitied him, adopted him, asked him questions, 
promised to keep and love him as if he were his own soni 



Next day the boy said to his new father, " The 
Nightingale foretells that a storm is brewing which will 
break the masts and shatter the sails. You must go back 
to the haven." 

But the master of the ship would not go. And a storm 
arose at once, and the masts were shattered, and the 
sails torn down. It was no good, what is ended cannot 
be mended, so new masts were built and new sails were 
rigged. And they sailed on further. 

Again Vasya said, " The Nightingale sings that there 
are twelve ships coming to meet us, all pirate ships, and 
they will take us prisoner." 

This time the master of the ship believed him, and 
returned to the island, and he saw the twelve bold 
pirates go sailing by. So the master of the ship waited 
as long as need be, and then sailed further. 

Some time went by, not too much, not too little, and 
the ship arrived at the city of Khvalynsk; and,, for very 
many years, in front of the palace of the King of 
Khvalynsk, a Crow, with his wife and child, had been 
flying and screeching, giving no rest either by day or 
night. Whatever they did, whatever gins they might set, 
they could not drive them off from the window. Small 
shot was not any good. And so that King ordained 
that at every cross-road and at aU the harbours this 
notice should be exhibited : 

" If any man can drive away the Crow, with his 
wife and child, from the royal windows, the king 
will grant him as a reward half of his kingdom, and 

his youngest daughter as wife but if any shall 

undertake the work and shall not fulfil it he shall 
forfeit his head." 

Very many were the hunters eager to become kinsmen 
of the King, and all of their heads had been hewn off 
and hung on stakes. 


Now Vasili heard o£ this, went up and asked the 
master of the ship, " Let me go to the King ; possibly 
I can chase away the Crow and his wife." 

They endeavoured to deter him, but failed. " Very 
well, go. And if you come by any harm, put the blame 
on yourself ! " 

So Vasili came into the palace, told the King, and 
ordered the windows to be opened in front of which the 
Crows were flying. He then listened to what the birds 
were saying, and told the King, " Your Majesty, you 
see that there are three flying here, the Crow, Madam 
Crow, and Master Crow : the Crow is disputing with 
his wife as to which of them the son belongs, whether 
to the father or to the mother ; and they are asking for 
a decision. Your Majesty, decide to whom it is the son 

The King answered, " To the father." 

As soon as the King had said this, the Crow with Master 
Crow sailed to the right, but Madam Crow to the left. 

After this the King took the youth unto himself, and 
he lived at the royal court and received the greatest 
kindness and honour, grew up and became a youth of 
youths, married the Princess, and received half of the 
kingdom as a dowry. 

One day he thought he would like to journey to 
foreign parts and see strange lands, view the folks of the 
world, and show himself. So he set out to roam through 
the world. In one city he stayed for a night, passed the 
night there, got up in the morning and said he wished 
to wash. So the master brought him water and the 
mistress brought him the towel. The King's son spoke 
with them, and then saw that they were his father and 
mother, wept for joy, and fell at the feet of his parents. 
Afterwards he took them with him to his own city of 
Khvalynsk, and they lived together long, and lived to 
enjoy good. 

bAba yaga and zamoryshek 

Once upon a time there lived an old man and his old 
wi£e, and they had no children, and what on earth did 
they not do to get them ! How did not they beseech 
God ! But for all that the wife bore no children. One 
day the old man went into the forest to look for mush- 
rooms, and an old gaffer met him. 

" I know your thoughts. You are thinking of children," 
he said. " Go to the village and coUect one little egg 
from every house and put a brood hen over them, and, 
what will ensue, you will yourself see." 

Now there were forty-one houses in the village. The 
old man went and collected the eggs and put a brood 
hen over them. Two weeks later he and his wife went 
to see, and they found that there were children born of 
the eggs, and they looked again and they found that 
forty of the children were fine, strong and healthy, and 
there was one who was a weakling. 

So the old man gave them names. But he had no 
name left for the last, so he called him Zamoryshek.^ 
And these children grew up not by days, but by hours, 
and they shot up fast and began to work and to help the 
mother and father. The forty of them used to go into 
the fields whilst Zamoryshek stayed at home. When 
the harvesting season came on the forty began making 
the hayricks, and in a single week all the ricks were put 
up. So they came back home to the village, lay down, 
slept, and ate of the fare God provided. 

The old man looked at them and said, " Young and 
green, goes far, sleeps sound, and leaves the work undone ! " 

' Benjamin, 


" You go and see, bdtyushka," ^ said Zamoryshek. 

So the old man went into the fields and saw forty- 
ricks standing. " Ah, these are fine boys of mine ! 
Look at all they have harvested in one week ! " Next 
day he went out again to gloat on his possessions, and 
found one rick was a-missing. He came home and said, 
" One rick has vanished." 

" Never mind, bdtyushka,''* said Zamoryshek, " we 
will catch the thief : give me a hundred roubles, and I 
will do the deed." 

Then Zamoryshek went to the smith and asked for 
a chain big enough to cover a man from head to foot. 

And the smith said, " Certainly." 

" Very well, then : if the chain hold, I will give you 
one hundred roubles ; if it break, your labour's lost." 

The smith forged the chain ; Zamoryshek put it 
round him, stretched it, and it broke. So the smith 
made a second iron chain, Zamoryshek put it round his 
body, and it again broke. Then the smith made a third 
chain, three times as strong, and Zamoryshek could not 
break it. 

Zamoryshek then went and sat under the hayrick and 
waited. At midnight a sudden storm rose and the sea 
raged, and a strange nag rose out of the sea, ran up to 
the rick and began to eat it. Zamoryshek bound the 
neck round with chains and mounted her. The mare 
began to gallop over the valleys and over the hills, and 
she reared, but she could not dislodge the rider ; and at 
last she stopped and said in a human voice : " Now, 
good youth, now you can mount me, you may become 
master of my foals." Then she ran under the sea and 
neighed, and the sea opened and up ran forty-one foals ; 
and they were such fine foals, every single horse was 
better than every other horse. You might go round the 
entire earth and never see any horses as good. 

^ Father. 


Next morning the old man heard neighing outside his 
door, and wondered what the noise was, and there was 
his son Zamoryshek with the entire drove. " Good ! " 
he said. " Now, my sons, ye had better go and hunt 
for brides." So off they went. The mother and father 
blessed them, and the brothers set forth on their distant 
way and road. 

They rode far in the white world in order to seek their 
brides. For they would not marry separately, and what 
mother could they find who should boast of having 
forty-one daughters ? 

And they went across thirteen countries, and they 
then saw a steep mountain which they ascended, and 
there there stood a white stone palace with high walls 
round and iron columns and gates where they counted 
forty-one columns. So they tied their knightly horses 
to each of the stakes, and they entered. 

Then the Baba Yaga met them and said : " O ye 
unlooked-for, uninvited guests, how did you dare 
without leave to tie your horses to my stakes ? " 

" Come, old lady, what are you complaining of ? 
First of all give us food and drink, take us into the bath, 
and thereafter ask us for our news, and question us." 

So the Baba Yaga served them with food and drink, 
conducted them to the bath, and then afterwards she 
asked them : " Have ye come to do deeds, doughty 
youths, or to flee from deeds ? " 

" We have come to do deeds, grandmother," they 

" What have ye come to seek ? " 

" We are seeking brides." 

Then she replied, " I have daughters." And she 
burst into the lofty rooms and brought out her forty-one 

They were then betrothed, and began to feast together 
and celebrate the marriage. 

baba yaga and ZAMORYSHEK 51 

When the evening came Zamoryshek went to look at 
his horse, and the good horse saw him and spoke with a 
human voice. " See to this, my master : when you lie 
down with your young wives, dress them in your clothes, 
and put on your wives' clothes, otherwise you will all 
be kiUed." 

Then they all went and lay down, and they all went to 
sleep, only Zamoryshek took care to keep his eyes open. 

And at midnight Baba Yaga cried out in a loud voice : 
" Ho, ye my faithful servants ! Will ye cut off the heads 
of my insolent and uninvited guests ? " And so the 
servants ran and cut off the daughters' heads. 

Zamoryshek roused his brothers and told them what 
had happened. So they took the heads with them, put 
them on the forty-one stakes, armed themselves and 
galloped off. 

In the morning the Baba Yaga got up, looked through 
her little window, and saw the heads on the stakes. She 
was very angry, and she called for her fiery shield, and 
leapt out on the chase, and set to waving her fiery shield 
in all directions to the four winds. 

Whither should the youths betake themselves for 
concealment ? In front of them there was the blue sea 
and behind them the Baba Yaga. And she burned 
everything in front of her with her fiery shield. They 
might have had to die, but Zamoryshek was an inventive 
youth, and had not forgotten to take Baba Yaga's hand- 
kerchief, and he shook the handkerchief in front, and 
so built a bridge across all the width of the blue sea, and 
the doughty youths crossed the sea safely. Then 
Zamoryshek shook the handkerchief on the left-hand 
side and the bridge vanished. The Baba Yaga had to 
turn back, but the brothers went home safely. 


Beyond thrice-nine lands, in the thrice-tenth realm — 
it was not in our kingdom — once an old man and an old 
woman lived in great need and poverty. They had two 
sons, who were very young and as yet of no use for field 
work. So the old man got up himself, and himself did 
all the work ; he went out and looked after the labourers, 
and for aU that he could only earn a few pence. 

As he was going home one day he met a sorry drunkard, 
who had a hen in his hands. " WiU you, old man, buy 
my hen ? " 

" What do you want for it ? " 

" Give me fifty kopeks for it." 

" No, brother ; take these few pence — ^that will be 
enough for you ; you will get a pint and can drink it 
out on your way home and go to sleep." 

So the drunkard took the pence and gave the old man 
the hen. 

Then the old man returned home. But they were 
very hungry there ; there was not a crust of bread. 
" Here," he said, as he came in, to his wife, " here is a 
hen I have bought you." 

But his wife turned on him fiercely and scolded him. 
" What an old fool you are ! You must have gone 
utterly mad : our children are sitting down at home 
without any bread, and you buy a hen which you must 
feed ! " 

" Hold your tongue, foolish woman ; does a hen eat 
so much ? Why, she will lay us an egg and will bring us 
chicks ; we can sell the chicks and then buy bread." 



So the old man made a little nest and he put the hen 
under the stove. In the morning he looked, and the hen 
had laid a jewel of absolutely natural colours. So the 
old man said to his wife, " Now, old lady ; amongst 
other folks the hens lay eggs, but our hen lays jewels : 
what shall we do ? " 

" Take it into the city ; possibly somebody may buy it." 

So the old man went into the city, went into all the 
inns hy turns and showed his precious stone. All the 
merchants gathered round him and began valuing the 
stone. They valued it and valued it, and it was at last 
bought for five hundred roubles. 

From that day the old man went on trading in precious 
stones which his hen laid him, and he very soon became 
enriched, had himself inscribed into the merchants' 
guild, put up a shop, hired apprentices, and set up sea- 
faring ships to carry his wares into foreign lands. One 
day he was going into foreign parts, and he bade his 
wife have a great heed to the hen : " Treasure her more 
than your eyes ; should she be lost, you shall forfeit 
your own head." 

As soon as he had gone the old woman began to think 
evil thoughts. For she was great friends with one of 
the young apprentices. 

" Where do you get these precious stones from ? " the 
apprentice asked her. 

" Oh, it is our hen that lays them." 

So the apprentice took the hen, looked, and under the 
right wing he saw written in gold : " Whoever eats this 
hen's head shall become a king, and whoever eats her 
liver shall spit out gold." 

So he told the wife, " Bake me the hen for supper." 

" Oh, my dear friend, how can I ? My husband will 
be coming back and will punish me." 

But the apprentice would not listen to any argument. 
" Bake it," he said — that was all. 


The next day the old woman got supper ready, made 
ready to twist the hen's neck and to roast it for supper 
with the head and the liver. The cook twisted the hen's 
neck and put her into the oven, and himself went out. 
But in that time the two little children of the house, 
who were at school, ran in, looked into the oven, and 
wanted to nibble. The elder brother ate the head and 
the youngest ate the liver. 

When supper-time came, the hen was put on the table, 
but when the apprentice saw that both the head and the 
liver were missing he was very angry, quarrelled with the 
old woman and went home. The old woman followed 
him and wheedled, but he still insisted : " You bring 
your children, take their liver out and brains, and give 
them me for supper ; otherwise I will have nothing to 
do with you." 

So the old woman put her children to bed, called the 
cook and bade him take them whilst they were asleep 
into the wood, there kill them and extract their liver 
and their brains and get them ready for supper. The 
cook took the children into the slumbrous forest, stopped, 
and made ready to whet the knife. 

The boys woke up and asked, " Why are you sharpen- 
ing the knife ? " 

" Because yoirr mother has bidden me take out your 
liver and brains and cook them." 

" Oh, grandfather, little dove, do not slay us ; we will 
give you all the gold you desire, only pity us and let us 
free." So the younger brother filled lus skirt with gold, 
and the cook was contented with this and he set them 

So the boys went forth into the forest and he turned 
back. Fortunately for him a bitch came his way, so he 
took her two puppies, took their livers and brains, 
roasted them and gave them for supper. The appren- 
tice was very pleased with the dish, swallowed it all, 


and became neither a king nor a king's son, but simply 
a fool. 

The boys went out of the wood on the broad road, 
and went whither their eyes gazed — maybe far, maybe 
short, they went. Soon the road divided into two, and 
a column stood there, and on the column it was written : 


So the brothers considered this inscription, and de- 
cided to go in different directions ; the elder went to 
the right and the younger to the left. 

The elder went on and on, and soon came to an un- 
known capital city. He also saw a mass of people, only 
they were all mourning and sad. So he begged shelter 
of a poor old widow. " Will you protect," he said, " a 
foreigner from the dark night ? " 

" I should be very glad to have you," she said, " but 
I cannot put you anywhere, I am so closely packed." 

" Do let me in, babushka ; I am such a simple youth, 
just as, you are ; you can find me some small space, some 
kind of nook for the night." 

So the old woman admitted him, and they began to 

" Why, babushka," the stranger asked, " is there such 
a throng in the city, why are rooms so dear, and why are 
the people aU mourning and melancholy ? " 

" Well, our king has just died, and the boydrs have 
sent the town-crier out to announce that old and young 
are to assemble, and each of them is to have a candle, 
and with the candles they are to go into the cathedral, 
and whosesoever's candle lights of itself is to be king." 

So in the morning the boy got up, washed, prayed to 
God, said the grace for the bread and salt and the soft 
bed which his hostess had given him, and went into the 


cathedral. When he got there, if you had been there 
three years you could not have counted all those people. 
And he took a candle in his hand, and it lit up at once. 
So they all burst upon him and began to blow out his 
candle, to damp it, but the flame lit all the brighter. 
There was no help for it : they acknowledged him as 
their king, and dressed him in golden apparel and led 
him to the palace. 

But the younger brother, who had turned to the left, 
heard that there was a fair princess in a certain kingdom 
who was indescribably lovely. But she was very grudging, 
and she announced in all countries that she would only 
marry the man who could feed her army for three whole 
years ; yet every one had to try his luck. So the boy 
went there, and he went on his way, went on the broad 
road. And he spat into his little bag, and spat it full of 
pure gold. Well, it may be long, it may be short, it 
may be near, it may be far, but he at last reached the 
fair princess, and he said he would accomplish her task. 
He had no need to ask for gold, he simply had to spit 
and there it was. For three years he maintained the 
princess's army, gave it food and drink and dress. 

So the time came for a jolly feast and for the wedding. 
But the princess was still full of wiles. She asked herself 
and she sought to know whence God had sent him such 
enormous wealth. So she invited him to be her guest, 
received him, honoured him. And the doughty youth 
fell sick, and he vomited up the liver of the hen, and the 
Tsarevna swallowed it. From that day gold fell from her 
lips, and she would not have her bridegroom with her. 
" What shall I do with this ignoramus ? " she asked her 
boyars, and she asked her generals. " He has had the 
idiotic idea of wanting to marry me." 

So the boyars said he must be hung, and the generals 
said he must be shot. But the Tsarevna had a better 
idea — that he ought to be sent to hell. 


So the doughty youth escaped and once more set 
forth on his road. And he had only one thought in his 
mind, how he should make himself wise and revenge 
himself on the Tsarevna for her unkind jest. So he went 
on and went on, and he came into the dreamy wood, 
and he looked and he saw three men fighting with their 

" What are you fighting about ? " 

" We have three finds in the road, and we cannot 
divide them ; every one wants them for himself." 

" What are the finds ? what are you contending 
for ? " 

" Look, this is a barrel : you only have to knock it, 
and a soldier leaps out of its mouth. This is a flying 
carpet : wherever you think it will take you. And this 
is a whip : strike a maiden and say ' You have been a 
maiden, now become a mare,' and she will become a 
mare at once." 

" These are valuable gifts, and they are hard to divide. 
But this is the way out : I will send an arrow in this 
direction, and you all run after it ; he who reaches it 
first shall have the barrel, and the second shall have the 
flying carpet, and the third shall have the whip." 

" Very well ; shoot the dart." 

So the youth sent out the arrow very far. The three 
darted after it and ran, and they never looked up. But 
the doughty youth took the barrel and the whip, sat 
upon the flying carpet, waved it one end, and he rose 
higher than the forest that stood there, lower than the 
clouds above, and he flew whither he would. 

So he went back to the forbidden lands of the fair 
princess, began beating the barrel, and an enormous 
army came out ; infantry, cavalry and artillery, with 
cannon and with powder waggons. And the mighty 
host rolled on and rolled on. The doughty youth asked 
for a horse, mounted it, and went up to his army and 


commanded it. The drums beat out and the trumpets 
sounded, and the army went at a pace. Then the 
Tsarevna saw from her rooms and was very much 
frightened, and sent her boydrs and generals to ask for 
peace. The good youth bade these ambassadors be seized, 
had them cruelly and savagely punished and sent them 
back to the Tsarevna, who was to come herself and ask 
for a reconciliation. 

Well, there was no help for it : so the Tsarevna her- 
self got out of her carriage, recognised him and swooned. 
But he took the whip, struck her on the back : " You are 
a maiden, now became a mare ! " And the Tsarevna 
turned into a mare. He bridled and rode her, and went 
to the kingdom of his elder brother. He galloped at a 
full pace, put both spurs into her back and used a scourge 
of three iron rods, and the army followed him, an un- 
believable host. It may be long, it may be short, at last 
they came to the boundary, and the doughty youth 
stopped, collected his army into the barrel, and went to 
the capital. He went straight to the royal palace, and 
the king himself saw him and looked at the mare and 
began to wonder : " What is this great hero approach- 
ing ? I have never seen such a fine mare in all my life." 
So he sent his generals to trade for that horse. 

" No, what an envious king you have ! " said the 
youth. " It would evidently be out of the question 
in your city to come here with a young wife ; if you are 
so greedy for a mare, you would certainly take away my 

Then he went to the palace and said, " Hail, brother ! " 

" Oh, I never knew you ! " 

So they set to kissing each other. 

" What sort of barrel have you ? " 

" That is for drinking. How should I journey forth 
on the road otherwise ? " 

" And the carpet ? " 


" Sit down and you will find out." 

So they sat on the flying carpet, and the younger 
brother shook it at the corner and they flew higher than 
the forest, lower than the wandering cloud, straight back 
to their own country. So they flew back, took a room 
with their father, and as to who they were they never 
told their father and mother. So they then thought 
they would give a feast to all the christened world. They 
assembled all the people in countless hosts, and for three 
whole days they ■ gave food and drink to all without 
requital, without any charge. And afterwards every one 
began saying had any one a tale of wonder to tell ; let 
him start. But no one would say : " We, it is said, are 
strange folk, but " 

" Well, I will tell you a story," said the younger 
brother ; " only do not talk until the end. Whoever 
interrupts three times is to be ruthlessly punished." So 
they all agreed. 

And he began to tell how the two old folks had 
lived together, how they had had a hen which laid jewels, 
and how the mother had made friends with the appren- 
tice. " What a lie ! " interrupted the mistress. But 
the son went on with his tale. And he narrated how 
they had twisted the hen's neck, and the mother again 
interrupted. At last the story went up to the point 
when the old woman wished to take away the children, 
and again she would not stand it : " It is untrue ! " she 
said. " Could ever such a thing happen ? Could ever a 
mother wish to be torn from her children ? " 

" Obviously, it is possible. Look at us, mother ; we 
are your children." 

Then the whole story came out, and the father bade 
his wife be chopped up into bits. He tied the apprentice 
to the tail of horses, and the horses broke in every 
direction and scattered his bones over the fields. " Let 
the dog die a dog's death ! " said the old man. And he 


gave all his property to the poor and went to live in his 
elder son's kingdom. 

But the younger son smote his mare with the back o£ 
his hand and said, " You are a mare ; now become a 
maiden ! " So the mare turned into the fair Tsarevna. 
They made peace, became friends and wedded. It was 
a magnificent wedding. 

I was there, I drank mead and it flowed up to my 
beard, but none came into my mouth. 


In a country, in a kingdom far away, once upon a time 
there lived a merchant, Mark the Rich ; and, what 
with all his estates and revenues, you couldn't count 
them. He lived, and was merry, and never suffered the 
poor man to coine to his door, so ungracious was he. 

One day he had a dream : " Make ready, Mark the 
Rich, and wait. God Himself will be thy Guest ! " In 
the morning Mark got up, called his wife, and bade her 
make a banquet. He covered all of his courtyard with 
scarlet velvet and golden brocade, and at every side-path 
he posted journeymen and servants to keep out all the 
hunger-brothers and scare them outside. Then Mark 
the Rich came, and sat awaiting the Lord. The hours 
went by, and never a guest. And then the poor heard 
that there was a great feast at the house of Mark the 
Rich, They all gathered round for the hallowed gifts ; 
but the journeymen and servants drove them all away. 
But onC'poor beggar, bent with age, and all in rags, went 
up to the door of Mark the Rich. And as Mark the Rich 
saw him from the window, he cried out in a fierce voice : 
" Hi, you sluggards and louts ! Eyes and no eyes ? Look 
at the beast that is traipseing up and down our courtyard : 
get rid of him." 

And all the servants scampered up, laid hold of the 
poor old fellow, and rushed him out the back way. One 
good old woman saw him, and said : " Come to me, 
you poor old beggar ; I will feed andjrest you." She 
took him in, fed him,'"gave*him to drink, and laid him 



to sleep ; and thus Mark the Rich had never found the 
Lord for whom he was waiting. 

At midnight the lady had a dream, and heard some 
one knock at the window and ask : " Old and righteous 
man, are you sleeping here to-night ? " " Yes," said 
the old man. " In a village near by a poor peasant has 
had a son ; how will you reward him ? " The poor man 
said : " He shall be lord of all the domains of Mark the 
Rich ! " Next day the poor old man left his hostess and 
went forth to roam. The old peasant woman went to 
Mark the Rich and told him of her dream. 

Mark went to the peasant and asked for the baby. 
" Give him to me — I wiU adopt him ; he shall grow up ; 
I will teach him well ; and when I die he shall have all 
my wealth." This was what he said, but his thoughts 
were quite different. He took the little boy, went home, 
and threw him into a snow-drift. " Lie there and freeze ; 
that's the way to become master of Mark's wealth ! " 
But that same night hunters, passing by, hunting for 
hares, found the boy, took him home, and brought 
him up. 

Many years passed by, and much water flowed in the 
river, and one day Mark the Rich went out with those 
huntsmen, saw the young boy, heard his story, and spoke 
about him, and knew it was the same he had cast forth. 

So Mark the Rich asked the youth to go home and 
take a letter to his wife ; but in that letter he bade her 
poison the boy like a dog. The poor foundling set out 
on his road ; when on his way, he met a poor man with 
nothing on but a shirt ; but this beggar was Christ 
Himself. He stopped the wayfarer, took the letter, and 
held it for one minute, and the letter was changed in all 
it said. The wife of Mark the Rich was to receive the 
bearer with all honour, and marry him to her daughter. 
It was said, and it was done. 

Mark the Rich returned home ; and' was very wroth at 


seeing his new son-in-law, and said : " In the evening go 
to my distillery and look after the work " ; whilst he 
secretly told the men to hunt him into the burning 
cauldron as soon as ever he appeared. So the boy made 
ready to go to the distillery ; but a sudden sickness befell 
him, and he had to go back home. Mark the Rich waited 
his time, and went to see what had become of his son- 
in-law, and tumbled into his own distillers' clutches, 
into the burning cauldron ! 


Once upon, a time there was an aged queen who had a 
son and a daughter, who were fine, sturdy children. 
But there was also an evil witch who could not bear 
them, and she began to lay plots how she might contrive 
their overthrow. 

So she went to the old Queen and said : " Dear 
Gossip, I am giving you a ring. Put it on your son's 
hand, and he will then be rich and generous : only he 
must marry the maiden whom this ring fits." 

The mother believed her and was extremely glad, 
and at her death bade her son marry only the woman 
whom the ring fitted. 

Time went by and the boy grew up : he became a 
man and looked at all the maidens. Very many of them 
he liked, only as soon as he put the ring on their finger 
it was either too broad or too narrow. So he travelled 
from village to village and from town to town, and 
searched out all the fair damsels, but he could not find his 
chosen one, and returned home in a reflective mood. 

" What's the matter, brother ? " his sister asked him. 
So he told her of his trouble, explained his sorrow. 
" What a wonderful ring you have ! " said the sister. 
" Let me try it on." She tried it on her finger, and the 
ring was firmly fixed as if it had been soldered on, as 
though it had been made for her. 

" Oh, sister ! you are my chosen bride, and you must 
be my wife." 

" What a horrible idea, brother ! That would be a 




But the brother would not listen to a word she said. 
He danced for joy and told her to make ready for the 
wedding. She wept bitter tears, went in front of the 
house, and sat on the threshold and let her tears flow. 

Two old beggars came up, and she gave them to eat 
and to drink. They asked what her trouble was, and 
she needs must tell the two. " Now, weep no more, 
but do what we say. Make up four dolls and put them 
in the four corners of the room. After your brother 
calls you in for the betrothal, go ; and if he calls you 
into the bridal chamber, ask for time, trust in God, and 
follow our advice." And the beggars departed. 

The brother and sister were betrothed, and he went 
into the room and cried out, " Sister mine, come in ! " 

" I will come in in a moment, brother ; I am only 
taking off my earrings." 

And the dolls in the four corners began to sing : 

Coo-Coo — Prince Danilo 
Coo- Coo — Govorilo 
Coo-Coo — 'Tis a brother 
Coo-Coo — ^Weds his sister : 
Coo-Coo — Earth must split asunder 
Cooo — And the sister lie hid under. 

Then the earth rose up and slowly swallowed the 

And the brother cried out again, " Sister mine, come 
in to the feather-bed ! " 

" In a minute, brother. I am undoing my girdle." 

Then the dolls began to sing : 

Coo-Coo — Prince Danilo 
Coo-Coo — Govorilo 
Coo-Coo — 'Tis a brother 
Coo-Coo — ^Weds his sister : 
Coo-Coo — Earth must split asunder 
Cooo — And the sjstejr lie hid pnder. 


Only she had vanished now, all but her head. And 
the brother cried out again : " Come into the feather- 

" In a minute, brother ; I am taking off my shoes." 

And the dolls went on cooing, and she vanished under 
the earth. 

And the brother kept crying, and crying, and crying. 
And when she never returned, he became angry and 
ran out to fetch her. He could see nothing but the dolls, 
which kept singing. So he knocked off their heads and 
threw them into the stove. 

The sister went farther under the earth, and she 
saw a little hut standing on cocks' feet and turning 
round. " Hut ! " she cried out, " Stand as you should 
with your back to the wood." 

So the hut stopped and the doors opened, and a fair 
maiden looked out. She was knitting a cloth with gold 
and silver thread. She greeted the guest friendlily and 
kindly, but sighed and said, " Oh, my darhng, my 
sister ! Oh, I am so glad to see you. I shall be so glad 
to look after you and to care for you as long as my 
mother is not here. But as soon as she flies in, woe to 
you and me, for she is a witch." 

When she heard this the maiden was frightened, but 
could not fly anywhere. So she sat down and began 
helping the other maiden at her work. So they chat- 
tered along ; and soon, at the right time before the 
mother came, the fair maiden turned her guest into a 
needle, stuck her into the besom and put it on one side. 
But scarcely had this been done, when Baba Yaga 
came in. 

" Now, my fair daughter, my little child, tell me at 
once, why does the room smell so of Russian bones ? " 

" Mother, there have been strange men journeying 
past who wanted a drink of water." 
" Why did you not keep them ? " 


" They were too old, mother ; much too tough a 
snack for your teeth." 

" Henceforth, entice them all into the house and 
never let them go. I must now get about again and 
look out for other booty." 

As soon as ever she had gone, the maidens set to work 
again knitting, talking and laughing. 

Then the witch came into the room once more. She 
sniffed about the house, and said, " Daughter, my 
sweet daughter, my darling, tell me at once, why does 
it so smell of Russian bones ? " 

" Old men who were just passing by who wanted 
to warm their hands. I did my best to keep them, but 
they would not stay." 

So the witch was angry, scolded her daughter, and 
flew away. In the meantime her unknown guest was 
sitting in the besom. 

The maidens once more set to work, sewed, laughed, 
and thought how they might escape the evil witch. 
This time they forgot how the hours were flying by, 
and suddenly the witch stood in front of them. 

" Darling, tell me, where have the Russian bones 
crept away ? " 

" Here, my mother ; a fair maiden is waiting for you." 

" Daughter mine, darling, heat the oven quickly ; 
make it very hot." 

So the maiden looked up and was frightened to death. 
For Baba Yaga with the wooden legs stood in front of 
her, and to the ceiling rose her nose. So the mother 
and daughter carried firewood in, logs of oak and maple ; 
made the oven ready till the flames shot up merrily. 

Then the witch took her broad shovel and said in a 
friendly voice : " Go and sit on my shovel, fair child." 

So the maiden obeyed, and the Baba Yaga was going 
to shove her into the oven. But the girl stuck her feet 
against the wall of the hearth. 


" WiU you sit still, girl ? " 

But it was not any good. Baba Yaga could not put 
the maiden into the oven. So she became angry, thrust 
her back and said, " You are simply wasting time ! Just 
look at me and see how it is done." Down she sat on the 
shovel with her legs nicely trussed together. So the 
maidens instantly put her into the oven, shut the oven 
door, and slammed her in ; took their knitting with 
them, and their comb and brush, and ran away. |e 

They ran hard away, but when they turned round 
there was Baba Yaga running after them. She had set 
herself free. " Hoo, Hoo, Hoo ! there run the two ! " 
So the maidens, in their need, threw the brush away, 
and a thick, dense coppice arose which she could not 
break through. So she stretched out her claws, scratched 
herself a way through, and again ran after them. Whither 
should the two poor girls flee ? They flung their comb 
behind them, and a dark, murky oak forest grew up, so 
thick, no fly could ever have flown its way through. 
Then the witch whetted her teeth and set to work. 
And she went on tearing up one tree after another by 
the roots, and she made herself a way, and again set out 
after them, and almost caught them up. 

Now the girls had no strength left to run, so they 
threw the cloth behind them, and a broad sea stretched 
out, deep, wide and fiery. The old woman rose up, 
wanted to fly over it, but fell into the fire and was 
burned to death. 

The poor maidens, poor homeless doves ! did not 
know whither to go. They sat down in order to rest, 
and a man came and asked them who they were. He 
told his master that two little birds had fluttered on to 
his estate ; two fairest damsels similar in form and shape, 
eye for eye and line for line. One was his sister, but 
which was it ? He could not guess. So the master 
went to both of them. One was the sister — ^which ? 


The servant had not lied ; he did not know them, and 
she was angry with him and did not say. 

" What shall I do ? " asked the master. 

" Master, I will pour blood into an ewe-skin, put that 
under my armpit and talk to the maiden. In the mean- 
time I will go by and will stab you in the side with my 
knife ; then blood will flow ; then your sister will 
betray herself who she is." 

" Very weU ! " 

As soon as it was said it was done. The servant stabbed 
his master in the side, and the blood poured forth, and 
he fell down. 

Then his sister flung herself over him and cried out, 
" Oh, my brother ! my darling ! " 

Then the brother jumped up again healthy and well. 
He embraced his sister, gave her a proper husband, and 
he married her friend, for the ring fitted her just as 
well. So they all lived splendidly and happily. 


Once upon a time an old man lived in a village with his 
wife, and they were very poor : they had only one son. 
And when he grew up, the mother said to her husband : 
" It is full time that- we secured a wife for our son." 

" Well, go and see if you can bargain for a wife," 

The old woman went to her neighbour and asked him 
if her son could marry his daughter. But the neighbour 
said, " No ! " And she went to the next peasant, who 
also declined the honour. And she searched the whole 
village, and not a single soul would hear a single word 
of it. When she came back she said : " Goodman, I fear 
our son is born under an unlucky star ! " 

" Why ? " 

" I went through the whole village, and there is 
nobody who will give me his daughter." 

" That looks bad ! " said the husband. " It will soon 
be summer, and we shall not have anybody to help us at 
the harvest. Woman, go into the next village, as you 
may find somebody there." 

The old woman went to the next village, went from 
one end to the other, went through all the courtyards 
and houses of the peasants, but it was all in vain. 
Wherever she showed her nose, she was put off. And 
she came back home as she had left. " No one wants to 
be kin with such poor folk as us ! " 

" In that case it is no good running oneself off one's 
legs. Go and sit behind the oven." 

But the son was indignant, and asked : " Father, bless 
me, and I will go and seek my own fate." 



" Where then will you go ? " 

" Wherever my eyes lead me ! " 

So they blessed him and they let him go wherever the 
four winds blow. 

When the boy was on the road, he wept bitterly and 
spoke to himself : " Am I then the feeblest man in the 
world, and no maiden will really have me ? If the Devil 
would only send me a bride I think I would rake her ! " 

Suddenly, just as though he had grown out of the 
earth, an old man came to meet him, " Good day, 
doughty youth ! " 

" Good day, old father ! " 

" What were you saying just now ? " 

Then the boy was frightened and did not know what 
to answer. 

" You need not fear me. I will do you no harm, and 
perhaps I can help you in your need. Speak out boldly." 

So the boy told him all the truth. *' Oh, I am a sorry 
fellow, and no maiden will marry me. That is making 
me angry ; and I said in my indignation that if the Devil 
himself came and gave me a girl, I would make her my 

So the old man laughed and said : " I can give you a 
bride, oh, as many brides as you like " ; and they then 
came to a lake. " Stand with your back to the water, 
and step backwards," the old man told the boy. 

As soon as he had turned round, and had gone four 
steps, he found himself under the water, in a white stone 
palace.^ All the rooms were splendidly furnished and 
finely decorated. 

The old man gave him meat and drink, and afterwards 
showed him twelve maidens, each of whom was fairer 
than the others. " Choose which you will of them. You 
shall have any of them." 

^ The Devil in this story is the popular myth of the water-god or 
spirit, The Vodyanoy. 


" It is a difficult choice, grandfather ! Let me have 
till to-morrow to think of it." 

" Well, 70U can have until to-morrow," said the old 
man, and he took him into a large room. 

The boy lay down to sleep and began to think which 
he would take. Suddenly the door opened and a 
beautiful maiden came in. " Are you asleep, doughty 
youth, or not ? " 

" No, fair maiden, I cannot sleep. I am thinking 
which is the bride I shall take." 

" That is the very reason I came to see you, in order 
to give you counsel ; for, good man, you have become 
the Devil's guest. So, listen to me ; if you ever wish 
to return to the light of day, you must do as I say. If 
you do not, you will not leave this place alive." 

" Give me your counsel, fair maiden. I shaU not 
forget it all my life long." 

" To-morrow the Evil Spirit will show you twelve 
maidens, one like the other. You must choose me, and 
look at me very carefully. There will be a patch over 
my right eye ; that will be the sign." And the maiden 
told him her story. " Do you know the pope in a 
neighbouring village ? I am his daughter, and was 
stolen from his house nine years ago. One day my father 
was angry with me and made a hasty wish that the Devil 
might take me. I went in front of the house and cried, 
and the Unholy Spirit soon snatched me on the spot, 
carried me here ; and I have never left the place since." 

Next day the old man set the twelve maidens in a row 
before the boy, and commanded him to choose one of 
them. He looked until he had seen the one with the 
patch over the right eye, and chose her. The old man 
was angry, but he had to give her up. And he therefore 
mixed the maidens together and told him to make a 
second choice. The boy hit on the same one, and after 
a third choice he took his fated bride. 


■ " This has been your piece of luck. Now take her 
home ! " 

All at once the boy and the maiden found themselves 
on the bank of the lake, and they walked backwards until 
they reached the high road. The Devil wanted to hunt 
after them ; but aU at once the lake vanished, and there 
was no trace of the water. 

When the boy had taken his bride into the village, he 
stopped at the pope's house. The pope saw her, and 
sent a servant out and asked what they desired. 

" We are wandering folk, and ask for shelter." 

" I have guests staying here, and my hut would be too 
small anyhow." 

" But, father ! " said the merchants, " wandering folk 
must be always taken in : they will not disturb us." 

" Well, come in." 

The boy and the maiden came in, made due greetings, 
and sat behind, on a corner of the fire bank. 

" Do you know me, father ? I am your own 
daughter ! " She told him what had happened ; and 
they kissed, and embraced, and shed tears of joy. 

" Who is he ? " said the pope, pointing to the boy. 

" That is my own chosen bridegroom, who brought 
me back to light of day, but for whom I should have 
remained beneath for ever ! " Thereupon the fair 
maiden opened her bag, and there were golden and 
silver vessels in it which she had stolen from the devils. 

A merchant looked at them and said : " Those are my 
plate. Once I was dining with guests, and became 
rather drunk, quarrelled with my wife, and I wished 
them all to the Devil. And since then all my plate has 
vanished ! " 

And this was the truth, for as soon as ever the man 
mentioned the Devil, the Evil Spirit appeared on the 
threshold, gathered up all the gold and silver plate, and 
threw skeleton bones down instead. 


So the boy got a fine bride, married her, and drove to 
see his parents. They had long given him up for dead, 
and it was no wonder ; for he had been away for three 
years, although it had seemed to him only twenty-four 
hours that he had stayed with the Devil. 


In a certain kingdom in a certain land once there lived 
a Tsar and a Tsaritsa. He lived with her for some time, 
then he thought he would go to that far distant country 
where the Jews crucified ' Christ. So he issued orders to 
his ministers, bade farewell to his wife, and set out on 
his road. 

It may-be far, it may-be short, he at last reached that 
distant land where the Jews crucified Christ. And in 
that country then the Accursed King was the ruler. 
This King saw the Tsar, and he bade him be seized and 
lodged in the dungeon. There were many tortures in 
that dungeon for him. At night he must sit in chains, 
and in the morning the Accursed King used to put a 
horse-coUar on him and make him drive the plough until 
the evening. This was the torment in which the Tsar 
lived for three whole years, and he had no idea how he 
should tear himself away or send any news of himself 
to his Tsaritsa. And he sought for some occasion. And 
he wrote her this little line : " Sell," he said, " all my pos- 
sessions and come to redeem me from my misfortune." 

When the Tsaritsa received the letter she read it 
through and said to herself, " How can I redeem the 
Tsar ? If I go myself, the Accursed King will receive 
me and will take me to himself as a wife. If I send one 
of the ministers, I can place no reliance on him." So 
what did she advise ? She cut off her red hair, went 
and disguised herself as a wandering musician, took her 
gusli, and never told anybody, and so set out on her 
road and way. 



She arrived at the Accursed King's courtyard and 
began to play the gusli so finely as had never been heard 
or listened to for ages. When the King heard such 
wonderful music he summoned the harpist into the 
palace. " Hail, guslydr ! From what land have you 
come ? From what kingdom ? " asked the King. 

" I do not journey far in the wide white world : I 
rejoice men's hearts and I feed myself." 

" Stay with me one day and another day, and a third, 
and I will reward you generously." 

So the guslydr stayed on, and played for an entire day 
in front of the King, and he could never hear enough of 
her. " What wonderful music ! why, it drove away all 
weariness and grief as though at a breath." 

So the guslydr stayed with the King three days, and 
was going to say farewell. 

" What reward can I offer you for your labour ? " 
asked the King. 

" Oh, your Majesty, give me one prisoner who has sat 
long in the prison ; I must have a companion on the 
road ! I wish to go to foreign kingdoms, and I have no 
one with whom I can exchange a word." 

" Certainly 1 Select whom you will," said the King, 
and he led the guslydr into the prison. 

The guslydr looked at the prisoners, selected the Tsar, 
and they went out to roam together. 

As they were journeying on to their own kingdom 
the Tsar said, " Let me go, good man, for I am no 
simple prisoner, I am the Tsar himself. I will pay you 
ransom for as much as you wiU ; I will grudge you 
neither money nor service." 

" Go with God," said the guslydr : " I do not need 
you at aU." 

" Well, come to me as my guest." 

" When the time shall come, I wiU be there." 

So they parted, and each set out on his own way. The 


Tsaritsa went by a circuitous route, reached home 
before her husband, took off her guslar's dress and 
arrayed herself Hke an empress. 

In about one hour cries rang out and the attendants 
came up to the palace, for the Tsar had arrived. The 
Tsaritsa ran out to meet him,' and he greeted them all, 
but he did not look at her. He greeted the ministers 
and said, " Look, gentlemen, what a wife mine is ! 
Now she flings herself on my neck, but when I sat in 
prison and sent her a letter to sell all my goods and to 
redeem me she did nothing. Of what was she thinking 
if she so forgot her liege husband ? " 

And the ministers answered the Tsar, " Your Majesty, 
on the very day the Tsaritsa received your letter she 
vanished no one knows where, and has been away all this 
time, and she has only just appeared in the palace." 

Then the Tsar was very angry and commanded, " My 
ministers, do ye judge my unfaithful wife according to 
justice and to truth. Where has she been roaming in 
the white world ? Why did she not try to redeem me ? 
You would never have seen your Tsar again for ages of 
eternity, if a young guslydr had not arrived, for whom I 
am going to pray God, and I do not grudge giving him 
half my kingdom." 

In the meantime the Tsaritsa got off her throne and 
arrayed herself as the harpist, went into the courtyard 
and began to play the gusli. The Tsar heard, ran to 
meet her, seized the musician by the hand, led her into 
the palace and said to his Court, " This is the guslydr 
who rescued me from my confinement." The guslydr 
then flung off his outer garment, and they then all 
recognised the Tsaritsa. Then the Tsar was overjoyed 
and for his joy he celebrated a feast which lasted seven 
whole days. 


There was once, in a certain kingdom, a certain state, 
where there lived Tsar Vyslav Andronovich, who had 
three sons : the first was called Dmitri Tsarevich, the 
second Vasili Tsarevich, and the third Ivan Tsarevich. 
This Tsar had a garden so rich that in no other kingdom 
was there any better, and in that garden many rare 
trees grew with fruits and without fruits. And the Tsar 
had an apple-tree which he especially loved, and on that 
apple-tree all the apples that grew were of gold. But 
it happened that the Bird of Light began to fly to visit 
Tsar Vyslav. The feathers of the bird were all gold, 
but the eyes were like crystal of the East. It flew into 
the garden every night and sat on the apple-tree beloved 
of Tsar Vyslav, and used to pluck down the goldei^ apples 
and fly away. Tsar Vyslav Andronovich was deeply 
afflicted, and he called to him his three sons and said 
to them : " My beloved children, which of you will go 
into my garden and catch the Bird of Light ? He who 
captures it alive, I will in my lifetime give him the 
half of my kingdom, and at my death he shall have 
it all." 

Then his children, the Tsarevichi, said in a single voice : 
" Gracious lord, our father. Your Imperial Majesty, we 
will, with the greatest pleasure, try to catch the Bird 
of Light alive." 

On the first night Dmitri Tsarevich went into the 
garden and sat under the apple-tree from which the Bird 
of Light used to steal the apples ; but he went to sleep, 



and he never heard when the Bird of Light flew up and 
again plucked off many apples. 

In the morning Tsar Vyslav Andronovich called his 
son Dmitri to him, and he asked him : " Well, my 
beloved son, did you see the Bird of Light, or did you 
not ? " And he answered : " Father, gracious lord, 
this night it did not come." 

So the next night Vasili Tsarevich went to keep watch 
in the garden. He sat under the same apple-tree, and 
sat there one hour and went to sleep so soundly that he 
never heard the coming of the Bird of Light, which flew 
on to the tree, perched on it, and plucked many apples. 

In the morning the Tsar called his second son and 
questioned him, and he answered : " Gracious lord, my 
father, this night the Bird of Light did not come." 

And on the third night Ivan Tsarevich went into the 
garden to watch, and sat under the same apple-tree ; 
and he waited one hour, a second hour, and a third 
hour; and then the whole garden lit up as though it 
shone with many fires, and the Bird of Light flew in and 
sat on the apple-tree and began to pluck the apples. 
Ivan Tsarevich stole under it so warily, and seized it by 
its tail, only he could not keep hold of it ; and had only 
one feather out of its tail. 

In the morning, when Tsar Vy-slav awoke from his 
sleep, Ivan Tsarevich went to him, and gave him the 
feather of the Bird of Light. Tsar Vyslav was very glad 
that his youngest son had succeeded, although he had 
only a single feather ; and this feather was so marvellous 
and bright that you had only to take it into some dark 
attic and it shone as bright as the red sun. Tsar Vyslav 
put the feather into his cabinet as an article which he- 
must keep for ever ; and from that time forward the 
Bird of Light never flew into the garden. 

Tsar Vyslav once again called his children unto him and 
said, " My beloved sons, do ye journey forth ; I will 


give you /my blessing. You must seek for the Bird of 
Light and bring it to me alive ; and what I promised you 
before, he who captures the Bird of Light shall have." 

Dmitri and Vasili were envious of their younger 
brother Ivan that he had succeeded in pulling the feather 
out of the Bird of Light's tail. But Ivan Tsarevich asked 
leave of his father and his blessing. Tsar Vyslav tried 
to keep Ivan back, but he could not, and he let him go 
at his unrelaxing prayer. Ivan Tsarevich received his 
father's blessing, took his horse, and went on his journey, 
journeying forth, not knowing whither he was going. 

And as he went on the road and way — ^it may be near, 
it may be far, it may be high, it may be low, the tale is 
soon told, but the deed is not soon done — at last he 
reached an open field and green meadows. And in the 
open field there stood a stone column, and on the column 
these words were written : 

" Whosoever goes on straight from this column, he 
shall have hunger and cold. Whosoever goes to 
the right, he shall have health and life, but his 
horse shall be slain. And whosoever goes to the 
left, he shall himself be slain, but his horse shall 
have life and be healthy." 

Ivan Tsarevich read this inscription, and he went to 
the right, bethinking himself, if his horse were to be 
slain, anyhow he would remain alive. So he went on 
one day, and a second and a third day, and suddenly 
a fierce grey Wolf met him and said : " All hail to thee, 
warrior ! Doughty of might, Ivan Tsarevich, hast thou 
read how it is written on the column that thy horse shall 
be slain ? So why hast thou ridden this way ? " And 
the Wolf, speaking these words, cleft the horse of the 
young Ivan Tsarevich in two and went far aside. 

Ivan Tsarevich wept bitterly for his horse, and he 
went on on foot. And he went one whole day and grew 


very, very tired ; and when he wanted to sit down and 
to rest, suddenly the grey Wolf came up to him and 
said : " I have pity for you, Ivan Tsa'revich, that you are 
tiring yourself going on foot. Come, sit on me — on the 
grey Wolf — ^and say whither I shall take you and where- 
fore." Ivan Tsarevich told the grey Wolf where he 
wanted to go, and the grey Wolf flew off with him swifter 
than any horse ; and, in a short time, as it might be in a 
single night, he conducted Ivan Tsarevich to a stone wall, 
stopped, and said : " Now, Ivan Tsarevich, jump off me 
— off the grey Wolf — and go through this stone wall. 
There is a garden behind the wall, and in that garden 
the Bird of Light is sitting in a golden cage. You must 
take the Bird of Light, but you must not touch the golden 
cage, or they will capture you at once." 

Ivan Tsarevich slipped through the stone wall into the 
garden, saw the Bird of Light in the golden cage, and was 
very pleased. He took the Bird out of the cage, and was 
going back, and then he thought and said to himself : 
" Why should I take the Bird of Light without the cage ? 
Where shall I put it ? " So he turned back, and as soon 
as ever he had taken the golden cage there was a clamour 
and a clangour in the garden as though there were ropes 
attached to the cage. AU the watchmen woke up, ran 
up into the garden, seized Ivan Tsarevich with the Bird 
of Light, and took him to their Tsar, who was called 

Tsar Dolmat was very angry with Ivan Tsarevich, and 
shrieked in a wrathful tone : " Are you not ashamed of 
yourself, young man, to come stealing ? Who are you — 
of what land ? Who was your father ? How do they 
call you on earth ? " 

Ivan Tsarevich answered him : " I am the son of 
Tsar Vyslav Andronovich, and they call me Ivan Tsare- 
vich. Your Bird of Light flew into the garden every 
night and stole the golden apples from the apple-tree 


my father loved, and for that reason my father sent me 
to seek the Bird of Light and to take it to him." 

" Oh, thou brave youth, Ivan Tsarevich ! " Tsar 
Dolmat cried. " I would certainly have given you the 
bird, but what did you do ? If you had come to me, 
1 should have given you the Bird of Light as an honour ; 
but, now, would it be well, were I to send you into all 
kingdoms to proclaim how you came into my realm and 
dealt dishonourably ? Now listen, Ivan Tsarevich. If 
you will do me this service, if you wiU go across thrice 
nine kingdoms into the thrice-tenth realm, and will 
there obtain me from Tsar Af ron the golden-maned horse, 
I will forgive your sin, and I will give you the Bird of 
Light, and will do you great honour." 

And Ivan Tsarevich became very sorrowful, and left 
Tsar Dolmat, found the grey Wolf, and told him of 

" Hail to thee, warrior, doughty of might ! " the 
grey Wolf said to him. " Why did you not listeii to my 
words ? Why did you take the golden cage ? " 

" I am guilty," Ivan Tsarevich said to the Wolf. 

" Well, so be it," said the grey Wolf. " Sit on me — 
on the grey Wolf. I will take you wherever you wish." 

Ivan Tsarevich sat on the grey Wolf's back, and the 
Wolf chased as fast as a dart and ran may-be far, may-be 
near, and at last he reached the kingdom of Tsar Afron 
at night-time ; and when he had come to the white- 
stoned stables of the Tsar, the grey Wolf said to Ivan 
Tsarevich : " Get down, Ivan, go into the white- 
stoned stables, and take the golden-maned horse ; only 
there hangs a golden bridle on the wall which you are 
not to touch, or it will go ill with you." 

Ivan Tsarevich went into the white-stoned stables, 
took the horse, and went back. But he saw the golden 
bridle on the wall, and when his glance feU on it he took 
it from the hook. And as soon as he touched it there was 


a clangour and a clamour throughout all the stables as 
though there were ropes attached to the bridle. All the 
watchmen woke up, ran into the stable, seized Ivan 
Tsarevich with the golden-maned steed and took him to 
their Tsar Afron. 

Tsar Afron was very angry with Ivan Tsarevich, and 
asked him who he was, who was his father, and what 
was his name. When Ivan had told him also of his errand, 
he said : "I would have certainly given you the golden- 
maned horse if you had asked me for it, but since you 
have dealt thus dishonourably with me, you must do 
me this service, and then I wiU give you the golden- 
maned horse with the bridle : you must ride across 
thrice-nine lands into the thrice-tenth kingdom and gain 
me Princess Elena the Fair, whom I have for long loved 
with all my heart and soul, but cannot gain. In return 
for this I will forgive you, and give you what you sought 
as an honour : but if you do not do me this service I 
will proclaim throughout all the realms of the world 
that you are a dishonourable thief." 

Ivan Tsarevich went out of the palace and began to 
weep bitterly : then he came to the grey Wolf and 
related how it had gone with him. 

" Hail to thee, brave warrior, doughty of might ! " 
the grey Wolf said. " Why did you not listen to my 
words, and take the golden bridle ? " 

" I have been guilty before you," said Ivan Tsarevich. 

" Well, so be it," the grey Wolf went on. " Sit on my 
back, on the grey Wolf : I will take you wherever you 

So Ivan Tsarevich sat on the grey Wolf's back, and the 
grey Wolf scoured as fast as a dart, and at last he 
arrived at the kingdom of Princess Elena the Fair, to 
the golden palisade which surrounded the wonderful 
garden ; and the Wolf said to the Tsarevich : " Ivan 
Tsarevich, slip off my back, off the grey Wolf, and go 


behind on that road and wait for me in the open field 
under the green oak." Ivan Tsarevich went as he was 
bidden, and the grey Wolf sat near the golden palisade, 
waiting until Princess Elena the Fair should come into 
the garden to walk. 

In the evening, when the little sun was setting fast 
to the West, Princess Elena the Fair went into the garden 
to take a walk with all of her maids of honour and servants 
and attendants and all the boydryni^ around. When she 
came to the place where the grey Wolf sat behind the 
railing, suddenly the grey Wolf leapt across the grating 
to the garden, seized Princess Elena the Fair, leapt back 
and ran away with all his might and strength. He then 
went into the open field under the green oak where 
Ivan Tsarevich was waiting, and said, " Ivan Tsarevich, 
come sit on my back, on the grey Wolf swiftly." Ivan 
Tsarevich sat on him, and the grey Wolf scoured off 
with them both fast to the kingdom of Tsar Afron. 

All the maids of honour and servants and attendants 
and boydryni ran swiftly into the palace and began to set 
a hunt on foot, but however many the hunters that 
hunted, they could not hunt down the grey Wolf, and 
so they all turned back home again frustrated. 

Ivan Tsarevich, seated on the grey Wolf's back with 
Princess Elena the Fair, fell in love with her and she 
with him : and when the grey Wolf arrived at the 
garden of Tsar Afron, the Tsarevich grew very sad and 
began to weep tears. 

The grey Wolf asked him, " Why are you weeping, 
Tsarevich ? " 

And Ivan Tsarevich answered him, " O my friend, 
the grey Wolf, how shall it be to me, the doughty youth, 
not to weep, not to be aflflicted ? I love Princess Elena 
the Fair with all my heart, and now I must give her up 
to Tsar Afron in exchange for the golden-maned horse : 

' Countesses. 


and, if I do not give her up, then Tsar Afron will dis- 
honour me throughout all the kingdoms." 

" I have served you well, Ivan Tsarevich," the grey- 
Wolf replied, " and I will serve you yet this service. 
Listen, Ivan Tsarevich, I wiU turn myself into the fair 
Princess Elena, and you will take me to Tsar Afron and 
be given the golden-maned horse : he will then take 
me as his queen, and when you sit on the golden-maned 
horse and you ride far away, then I wiU ask Tsar Afron 
leave to walk in the open field, and when he lets me go 
with the maids of honour and servants and serving- 
maids and attendants and the boydryni, then think of 
me, and I shall be with you once again." 

His speech finished, the grey Wolf struck the grey 
earth and he turned himself into Princess Elena. 

Ivan Tsarevich took the grey Wolf and went into the 
palace of Tsar Afron together with the supposed Elena 
the Fair. Then the Tsar was very joyous in his heart 
that he had received such a treasure, which he had been 
desiring for long, and he gave the golden-maned horse 
to Ivan Tsarevich. Ivan Tsarevich sat on the horse, 
and he went behind the town and he placed Elena the 
Fair on it, and they went away, taking their road to the 
kingdom of Tsar Dolmat. 

The grey Wolf stayed one day with Tsar Afron, and 
a second day and a third in the stead of fair Princess 
Elena. And then he asked leave of Tsar Afron to go and 
walk in the open field, that he might drive out the 
ravening sorrow from his heart. Then Tsar Afron said 
to him : " O my fair Queen Elena, I will do anything 
for you," and he promptly bade the maids of honour, 
the servants, the attendants and the boydryni to go 
with him and the fair Princess into -the open field to 

Ivan Tsarevich went on his way and rode with Elena 
the Fair, and they had almost forgotten the grey Wolf, 


when he suddenly recollected : " Oh, where is my grey 
Wolf ? " 

Then, from some source unknown, he stood in front 
of Ivan Tsarevich and said, " Sit on me, Ivan Tsarevich, 
on the grey Wolf, and the fair Princess can go on the 
golden-maned steed." 

Ivan Tsarevich sat on the grey Wolf, and so they went 
on to the realm of Tsar Dolmat, may-be far or near; 
and when they reached that kingdom then they stopped 
three versts out of the town, and Ivan began to beseech 
the grey Wolf : " Listen to me, my beloved friend, the 
grey Wolf ; you have served me so many services, 
serve me a last : can you not turn yourself into the 
golden-maned horse ? " 

Then the grey Wolf struck the grey earth and became 
the golden-maned horse ; and Ivan Tsarevich left the 
Fair Elena in the green meadow, sat on the grey Wolf 
and went into the palace to Tsar Dolmat ; and as soon as 
ever Tsar Dolmat saw Ivan Tsarevich, that he was riding 
the golden-maned horse, he came out of his palace, 
met the Tsarevich in the open courtyard, kissed him on 
his smooth cheeks, took him by his right hand and led 
him into the white-stoned palace. Tsar Dolmat for such 
a joy bade a feast be prepared, and they sat at the oaken 
tables by the chequered table-cloths, and they ate, 
drank and made merry for two days. On the third 
day Tsar Dolmat delivered to Ivan the Bird of Light 
with the golden cage. The Tsarevich took the golden 
Bird, went outside the town, sat on the golden-maned 
horse together with the Princes? Elena, and went back 
to his own country. 

Tsar Dolmat thought the next day he would take his 
golden-maned horse into the open fields, and as soon as 
ever he had angered the horse, it reared and was turned 
into a great grey Wolf who raced off. 

When it came up with Ivan Tsarevich it said, " Sit 


on me, on the grey Wolf, and Princess Elena the Fair 
she can ride on the golden-maned horse." 

Ivan Tsarevich sat on the grey Wolf and they went a 
third journey. Soon the grey Wolf took Ivan Tsarevich 
to the place where he had cleft his horse in two, and 
said : " Now, Ivan Tsarevich, I have served you well, 
faithfully and truly: on this spot I cleft your horse in 
two, and up to this spot I have brought you again : 
slip off me, off the grey Wolf ; now you have your 
golden-maned horse, I can serve you no more." 

The grey Wolf spoke these words and went into the 
forest ; and Ivan Tsarevich wept bitterly for the grey 
Wolf, and went on his road with the fair Elena on the 
golden-maned horse. And before he reached his own 
kingdom and when he was only twenty versts off, he 
stopped, got off his horse, and together with the fair 
Elena went under a tree : he tied the golden-maned 
horse to that same tree, and he took the cage with the 
Bird of Light with him ; and lying on the grass engaged 
in loving conversations they went to sleep. 

Now it happened at this time that the brothers of 
Ivan Tsarevich, Dmitri and Vasili, were riding out in 
different states and could not find the Bird of Light. 
They were just returning to their kingdom with empty 
hands, and they were provoked. And they lit upon their 
sleeping brother with the fair Princess Elena. When 
they saw the golden-maned horse and the Bird of Light 
in the golden cage on the grass they were delighted, 
and thought that they would slay their brother Ivan 
Tsarevich. Dmitri took his sword out of his sheath and 
cleft Ivan Tsarevich, and then he roused the fair Princess 
Elena and began to ask her : " Fair maiden, from what 
kingdom art thou, who was thy father, how do they call 
thee on earth ? " 

And the fair Princess Elena, seeing Ivan Tsarevich 
dead, was sore afraid, and with bitter tears spake. " I 


am Princess Elena the Fair ; and Ivan Tsarevich found 
me, whom ye have slain, whom ye have given over to an 
evil death : i£ ye were good champions, ye would have 
gone with him into the open field and have slain him 
in fair fight. But ye have slain him in his sleep, and how 
shall ye receive praise ? Is not a man asleep as one 
dead ? " 

Then Dmitri Tsarevich put his sword to the breast of 
fair Princess Elena : " Listen, Elena the Fair, you are 
now in our hands : we will take you to our father. 
Tsar Vyslav Andronovich, and you are to tell him that 
we found you and the Bird of Light and the golden-maned 
steed. If you do not say this, we will slay you at once." 

Princess Elena the Fair was frightened to death, and 
swore by all the holy relics that she would do as she was 
bidden. Then Dmitri Tsarevich and Vasili Tsarevich 
began to cast lots who should have the fair Princess 
Elena and who should have the golden-maned horse, 
and the lot fell that the fair Princess Elena should belong 
to Vasili and the horse to Dmitri. 

Ivan Tsarevich lay down dead on that spot for thirty 
days, and in that time the grey Wolf ran up to him and 
he recognised Ivan Tsarevich by his breath, and he 
wished to help him and revive him, but he did not know 
how. Then at that time he saw a crow and two nesthngs 
flying round the body, who wished to land there and to 
eat the flesh of Ivan Tsarevich. The grey Wolf sprang 
from behind the bush, laid hold of one of the nestlings 
and was going to tear it in two. Then the crow flung 
himself on earth and sat not far from the grey Wolf 
on the fields. " Don't touch my child ; it has not done 
you any harm ! " 

" Listen, Voron Voronovich : I wiU not touch your 
son if you will do me a service ; to fly across thrice-nine 
lands into the thrice-tenth realm and bring me the 
waters of Life and Death." 


Then the crow said, " Grey Wolf, I will do this service ; 
only do not touch my son." And the crow spoke these 
words and flew away. 

On the third day the crow flew back and brought with 
him two phials : in one was the water o£ Life and in the 
other the water of Death. And he gave these to the 
grey Wolf ; and the grey Wolf took the phials, cut the 
nestling into two, sprinkled him with the dead water, 
and the nestling grew together ; then he sprinkled him 
with the water of Life, and the nesthng shook himself 
and flew away. 

Then the grey Wolf sprinkled Ivan Tsarevich with the 
water of Death, and his body clove together ; and he 
sprinkled him then with the water of Life, and Ivan 
Tsarevich stood up alive and said : " Oh, what a long 
sleep I have had ! " 

And the grey Wolf said to him, " Yes, Ivan Tsarevich, 
you might have slept for ever if I had not been here : 
for your brothers have plundered you, and they have 
taken Princess Elena the Fair and the golden-maned 
horse and the Bird of Light with them. Now listen, 
and return to your kingdom as fast as you can : your 
brother Vasili is to-day going to marry your bride. 
Princess Elena the Fair. You must hasten there as fast 
as possible. Sit on me, on the grey Wolf, and I will 
take you there." 

Ivan Tsarevich sat on the grey Wolf, and the Wolf ran 
with him into the kingdom of Tsar Vyslav Andronovich, 
and, whether it be long or whether it be far or whether 
it be near, they reached the town. Ivan Tsarevich slipped 
off the grey Wolf and went into the town and arrived 
at the palace, and waited until his brother had returned 
with the Princess from the crowning ; and they were 
sitting down at table. 

When Elena the Fair saw Ivan Tsarevich, she jumped 
up at once from her chair and began to kiss his sweet 


lips and to cry out, " O my beloved bridegroom, Ivan 
Tsarevich : this is he, and not that other who sits at 

Then Tsar Vyslav Andrqnovich stood up from his place 
and began to ask, and began to question the Princess 
Elena the Fair what this might mean. Then the fair 
Princess told him all the real truth, how it had been. 

Tsar Vyslav Andronovich was then very wroth with 
'Dmitri and Vasili and sent them into the darkness of 
the dungeon. Ivan Tsarevich married Princess Elena 
the Fair and lived with her friendlywise and lovingly, 
so that one might never be seen anywhere without the 


There was once a priest who lived in the parish of St. 
Nicholas. He served St. Nicholas for some years, and all 
his earnings were that he had neither house nor home, nor 
a roof over his head. So our good priest got together 
all his keys, and seeing the icon of St. Nicholas, struck it 
down, and left his parish to go whithersoever his eyes 
should guide him. And he went roaming on his way. 

Suddenly an unknown man met him. " How do you 
do, good man ? " he said to the pope.^ " Whither are 
you going ? and whence do you come ? " " Take me 
with you as a companion." So they went off together. 
They went on some versts, and became tired. It was 
time to rest. 

Now the pope had two biscuits, and his new friend 
had two wafers. The pope said to him : " We will first 
of all eat up your wafers, and we will then go on with 
the biscuits." 

" All right ! " the unknown man said to him. " Let 
us first eat up my wafers, and leave your b^cuits for a 

So they ate the wafers, ate them all up, and they were 
fuUy sated, and there were still wafers over. 

So the pope became envious. " Why," he thought, 
" I will steal them." The old man lay down to sleep 
after dinner, and the pope was all agog to see how he 
could steal those wafers. The old man went to sleep ; 
so the pope abstracted the wafers from his pocket and 
silently began eating them. 

^ Village priest. 


The old man woke up and felt for his wafers, and 
could not find them anywhere. " Where are my wafers f 
Who has eaten them up ? Have you, pope ? " 

" No, I did not," answered the pope. 

" Well, all right ; I don't mind." 

So they shook themselves up, and they went on their 
way and journey, went on and on, and the roads suddenly 
divided and they came to a carfax. So they both went 
on a single road and arrived at a kingdom. Now, in this 
kingdom the Tsar's daughter was near her death, and 
the Tsar had promised any one who should cure her half 
of his reign and rule and realm ; but any one who failed 
was to have his head cut off and placed on a pole. 

When they arrived in front of the Tsar's courtyard, 
they got themselves up finely, and they called themselves 
doctors. The henchmen sallied out of the Tsar's court- 
yard, and asked them : " What sort" of people are you ? 
What is your race ? What is your city ? What do you 
require ? " 

" We," they answered, " are doctors, and we can cure 
the Tsarevna." 

" Well, if you are doctors, come into the palace." 

So they went into the palace, looked at the Tsarevna, 
asked for special huts from the Tsar, for a can of 
water, for a curved sabre, and a large table. The Tsar 
gave them all they required. 

They then locked themselves up in the huts, tied the 
princess down on the big table, cut her up with the 
curved sabre into little bits, put them all into the 
cauldron, washed them, and rinsed them out. Then 
they began to put them together — ^bit by bit, fragment 
by fragment. And the old man breathed on them. 
Piece clove to piece, and made one. Then he took all 
the pieces, breathed on them for the last time, and the 
princess trembled all over, and woke aUve and well. 

The Tsar himself came into their hut. " In the 


Name of the Father, and o£ the Son, and of the Holy- 
Ghost ! " 

" Amen ! " they answered. 

" Have you cured the Tsarevna ? " asked the Tsar. 

" Yes," the doctors answered — " there she is ! " The 
Tsarevna came out with the Tsar aKve and well. 

The Tsar said to the doctors : " What good thing do 
you desire — gold or silver ? Ask and you shall have." 
So they began to bring gold and silver. And the old man 
took as much as he could take with his thumb and two 
fingers, but the pope took it by handfuls, and he rammed 
it all into his wallet and hid it away, concealed it, lifted 
it up as much as ever his power could. 

The old man then said to the pope : " Let us bury all 
the money in the earth and again go a-healing." 

So they went on and went on, and they arrived at 
another kingdom in which there also was a princess on 
the verge of death, and the Tsar promised any one who 
should cure her half of his realm and rule and reign ; 
but any one who failed was to have his head cut off. 

But the Evil One was tempting the envious pope — 
how he should manage to tell nothing to the old man, 
but to cure her by himself, and so get all the gold and 
silver for himself. So he dubbed himself a doctor, 
arrayed himself finely, and arrived at the Tsar's court- 
yard, just as they had done before. In the same way he 
asked for the same implements from the Tsar, shut 
himself up in the special hut, tied the princess down on 
the table, took out the curved sabre ; and however much 
the Tsarevna might cry out and wriggle, the pope dis- 
regarded all her shrieks, and all her yelpings, poor girl, 
and cut her to bits like mincemeat. He then cut it all 
up fine, threw it into the cauldron, washed it and rinsed 
it, took it out, put piece to piece exactly the same as 
the old man had done. And he then wanted to put 
them altogether, breathed on them — and nothing hap- 


pened ! He pumped his lungs out, but nothing hap- 
pened. It was all to no purpose. So he put all the«frag- 
ments back into the water, rinsed and scoured them 
through, fitting the pieces together, and breathed on 
them. It was all of no good. 

" Oh, whatever shall I do ? " the pope thought. 
" This is simply horrible ! " 

In the morning the Tsar went to him and saw that 
the doctor had had no luck. He had mixed up the whole 
body on the floor. So the Tsar ordered the doctor to 
the gallows. 

The pope then began to beg. " Tsar ! Tsar ! I am 
a free man. Give me a short space of time. I will go 
and look out for another old man who can really cure 
the Tsarevna." So the pope went to look for the old 
man, found him, and said : " Old man, I am a depraved 
sinner. The fiends tempted me. I wanted to cure the 
Tsar's daughter all by myself, and I was not able, and 
they are now going to hang me. Do come and help 

So the old man went with the pope, and the noose 
was put round the pope's neck. Then the old man said 
to the pope : " Pope, who ate up my wafers ? " 

" I really didn't ; I swear I didn't ! " 

So they made him mount one rung higher, and again 
the old man said to him : " Pope, who ate my wafers 
up ?" 

" I really didn't ; I swear I didn't ! " 

So he went up the third rung, and again said he didn't. 
This time he had his head in the noose tight, and still he 
said : " I did nothing of the sort ! " 

So the old man said to the Tsar : " I am a free man. 
Will you let me cure the Tsarevna, and if I do not succeed, 
have a second noose got ready for my neck : one for me 
and one for the pope." 

Then the old man took the morsels of the Tsarevna's 


body, bit by bit, breathed on them, and she arose alive 
and well. 

Then the Tsar rewarded them both with gold and 

" Now let us go and divide the money," said the old 

So they started. They put all the money into three 
little piles, and the pope looked on, and said : " What 
do you mean ? There are only two of us. Who is to 
have the third ? " 

Said the old man : " That is for the thief who ate up 
my wafers." 

" Oh, it was I who ate them up ! " the pope cried out. 
" I really did ! I swear it ! " 

" Then you may have all the money, and my own share 
as well. Henceforth serve your parish faithfully. Do 
not be a miser, and do not beat St. Nicholas on the 
shoulders with the keys ! " the old man said, and vanished. 


Once upon a time there was a soldier who had served 
God and the Great Sovereign for twenty-five whole 
years, and had only in the end earned three biscuits, and 
was journeying back home. And, as he went along, he 
thought : " Lord ! here am I ; I have served my Tsar 
for twenty-five years, have received my food and dress, 
and what have I lived for after all ? I am cold and 
hungry, and have only three biscuits to eat." So he 
pondered and thought, and decided to desert and run 
away whither his eyes might lead him. 

As he went along he met a poor beggar who asked 
alms of him. The soldier gave him one biscuit, and kept 
two. And, as he trudged on, he soon came across 
another poor beggar, who bowed down low and asked 
for alms. So the soldier gave him another biscuit, and 
had only one left. Again on he went, and met a third 
beggar. The old fellow bowed low and asked for alms. 
The soldier got his last biscuit out, and thought : " If 
I give him the whole, I shall have none left ; if I give 
half, why, this old man will come across brother-beggars, 
will see they have a whole biscuit, and be offended. 
Better let him have it all, and I shall get on somehow." 
So he gave his last biscuit, and had nothing left. 

Then the old man asked him : " Tell me, good man, 
what do you wish ? Of what have you need ? I will 
help you." 

" God bless you ! " the soldier answered. " How 
should I take anything of you ? — ^you are old and poor." 

" Don't think of my poverty," he replied. " Just say 



what you would like, and I will requite you according 
to your own goodness." 

" I want nothing ; but, if you have any cards, give 
me some as a keepsake." 

For the old man was Christ Himself walking on earth 
in a beggar's guise. The old man put his hand into his 
breast and drew out a pack of cards, saying: "Take 
them. With whomsoever you play, you will win the 
game ; and here you have a nosebag. Whatever you 
meet on the way, whether wild beast or bird that you 
would like to catch, just say to it : ' Jump in here, beast 
or bird ! ' and your wish will be carried out." 

" Thank you ! " said the soldier, took the cards and 
the nosebag, and fared forth. 

He went on and on, may-be far, may-be near, may-be 
short, may-be long, and arrived at a lake, on which three 
wild geese were swimming. Then the soldier suddenly 
remembered the nosebag and thought : " I'll just test 
this nosebag " ; took it out, opened it, and said : " Hi ! 
you wild geese, fly into my nosebag ! " No sooner 
uttered than the geese flew straight up from the lake 
into the bag. The soldier grabbed the bag, tied it up, 
and went on his way. 

He travelled on and on and came to a town. He 
entered an eating - house and told the inn-keeper : 
" Take this goose and cook it for my supper, and I will 
give you another goose for your pains. Change me this 
third one for vodka." So there the soldier sat like a lord 
in the inn, at his ease, drinking wine and feasting on 
roast goose. 

It occurred to him suddenly he might peer out of the 
window, and he saw opposite a big palace, but not one 
pane of glass was whole, " What is this ? " he asked the 
inn-keeper. " What is this palace ? Why does it stand 
empty ? " 

"Why, don't you knov/?" the master replied, "Our 


Tsar built himself this palace, but cannot inhabit it ; 
and, for seven years, it has been standing empty. Some 
unholy power drives every one out of the place. Every 
night an assemblage of devils meets there, make a row, 
dance, play cards, and perpetrate every sort of vileness ! " 

So off the soldier went to the Tsar. " Your Imperial 
Majesty," quoth he, " please let me spend one night in 
your empty palace ! " 

" What do you mean, fellow ? " said the Tsar. " God 
bless you ; but there have been some dare-devils like 
you who passed a night in this palace, and not one 
emerged alive ! " 

" Well, still, a Russian soldier cannot drown in water, 
or burn in fire. I served God and the Great Sovereign 
five-and-twenty years, and never died of it ; and, for 
one night's service for you, I am to die ! No ! " 

" But I tell you : a man enters the palace at night 
alive, and only his bones are found there in the morning! " 

But the soldier stood firm : he must be admitted into 
the palace. 

" Well," said the Tsar, " go, and God help you. Stay 
the night there if you will ; you are free, and I won't 
hinder you ! " 

So the soldier marched into the palace, and settled 
himself down in the biggest saloon, took his knapsack 
off and his sabre, put the knapsack in a corner and the 
sabre on a hand-peg, sat down on a chair, put his hand 
into his pocket for his tobacco-pouch, lit his pipe, and 
smoked at his ease. Then about midnight, I don't know 
where from, hordes of devils, seen and unseen, scurried 
up, and made such a turmoil and row, and set up a dance 
with v/ild music. " What, you here, discharged soldier ! " 
all the devils began yelling. " Welcome ! Will you play 
cards with us ? " 

" Certainly ; here I have a set ready. Let's start ! " 

He took them out and dealt round. They began. 


played a game out, and the soldier won ; another, and 
the same luck ; and all the finessing of the devils 
availed them nothing ; the soldier won all the money, 
and raked it all together. 

" Stop, soldier," the devils said. " We still have sixty 
ounces of silver and forty of gold. We'll stake them on 
the last game." And they sent a little devil-boy to fetch 
the silver. 

So a new game commenced ; and then the little devil 
had to pry in every nook and come back and teU the old 
devil : " It's no use, grandfather — we have no more." 

" Off you go ; find some gold ! " And the urchin 
went and hunted up gold from everywhere, turned 
an entire mine inside out and still found -nothing: the 
soldier had played everything away. 

The devils got angry at losing all their money, and 
began to assault the soldier, roaring out : " Smash him 
up, brothers ! Eat him up ! " 

" We'll see who'll have the last word if it comes to 
eating," said the soldier, shook the nosebag open, and 
asked, " What is this ? " 

" A nosebag," said the devils. 

" Well, in you all go, by God's own spell ! " And he 
collected them aU together — so many you couldn't count 
them all ! Then the soldier buckled the bag tightly, 
hung it on a peg, and lay down to sleep. 

In the morning the Tsar sent for all his folks. " Come 
up to me and inform me how does it stand with the 
soldier. If the unholy powers have destroyed him, 
bring me his little bones." 

So off they went and entered the palace, and there 
saw the soldier trudging up and down gaily in the rooms 
and smoking his pipe. " Well, how are you, discharged 
soldier ? We never expected to see you again alive. 
How did you pass the night ? What kind of bargain 
did you make with the devils ? " 


" What devils ! Just con^e and look what a lot of 
gold and silver I won oflE them. Look, what piles of it ! " 
And the Tsar's servants looked and were amazed. And the 
soldier told them : " Bring me two smiths as fast as you 
can. Tell them to bring an iron anvil and a hammer." 

Off they went helter-skelter to the smiths, and the 
matter was soon arranged. 

The smiths arrived with iron anvil and with heavy 

" Now," said the soldier, " take this nosebag and beat 
it hard after the ancient manner of smiths." 

So the smiths took the nosebag, and they began to 
whisper to each other : " How fearfully heavy it is ! 
The devil must be in it." 

The devils shrieked in answer : " Yes, we are there, 
father — ^yes, we are there ! Kinsmen, help us ! " 

So the smiths instantly laid the nosebag on the iron 
anvil, and they began to knock it about with their ham- 
mers as though they were hammering iron. 

Very soon the devils saw that they could not possibly 
stand such treatment, and they began to shriek : " Mercy 
on us ! — mercy on us ! Let us out, discharged soldier, 
into the free world. Unto all eternity we wiU not forget 
you, and into this palace never a devil shall enter again. 
We will forbid everybody — all of them — and drive them 
all a hundred versts away." 

So the soldier bade the smiths stop, and as soon as he 
unbuckled the nosebag the devils rushed out, and flew 
off, without looking, into the depths of heU — into the 
abysses, of hell. But the soldier was no fool ; and as 
they were flying out he laid hold of one old devil — ^laid 
hold of him tight by his paw. " Come along," he said ; 
" give me some written undertaking that you will always 
serve me faithfully." 

The unholy spirit wrote him out this undertaking in 
his own blood, gave if him, and took to his heels. 


All the devils ran away into the burning pitch, and 
got away as fast as they could with all their infernal 
strength, both the old ones and the young ones ; and 
henceforth they established guards all round the burning 
pit and issued stern ordinances that the gates be con- 
stantly guarded, in order that the soldier and the nosebag 
might never draw near. 

The soldier came to the Tsar, and he told him some 
kind of tale how he had delivered the palace fjrom the 
infernal visitation. 

" Thank you," the Tsar, answered. " Stay here and 
live with me. I will treat you as if you were my brother." 

So the soldier went and stayed with the Tsar, and had 
a sufficiency of all things, simply rolled in riches, and he 
thought it was time he should marry. So he married, 
and one year later God gave him a son. Then this boy 
fell into such a fearful illness — so terrible that there was 
nobody who could cure it — and it was beyond the skill 
of the physicians ; there was no understanding of it. 
The soldier then thought of the old devil and of the 
undertaking he had given him, and how it had run in 
the undertaking : " I shall serve you eternally as a faithful 
servant." And he thought and said : " What is my old 
devil doing ? " 

Suddenly the same old devil appeared in front of him 
and asked : " What does your worship desire ? " 

And the soldier answered : " My little boy is very ill. 
Do you know how to cure him ? " 

So the devil fumbled in his pocket, got out a glass, 
poured cold water into it, and put it over the head of 
the sick child, and' told the soldier : " Come here, look 
into the water." And the soldier looked at the water ; 
and the devil asked him : " Well, what do you see ? " 

" I see Death standing at my son's feet." 

" Well, he is standing at his feet ; then he will survive. 
If Death stands at his head, then he cannot live another 


day." So the devil took the glass with the water in it. 
and poured it over the soldier's son, and in that same 
minute the son became well. 

" Give me this glass," the soldier said, " and I shall 
never trouble you for anything more." And the devil 
presented him with the glass, and the soldier returned 
him the undertaking. 

Then the soldier became an enchanter, and set about 
curing the boydrs and the generals. He would go and 
look at the glass, and instantly he knew who had to die 
and who should recover. Now, the Tsar himself became 
iU, and the soldier was called in. So he poured cold 
water into the glass, put it at the Tsar's head, and saw 
that Death was standing at the Tsar's head. 

The soldier said : " Your Imperial Majesty, there is 
nobody in the world who can cure you. Death is standing 
at your head, and you have only three hours left of Hfe." 

When the Tsar heard this speech, he was furious with 
the soldier. " What, what ! " he shrieked at him. " You 
who have cured so many boydrs and generals, cannot do 
anything for me ! I shall instantly have you put to 

So the soldier thought and thought what he should 
do. And he began to beseech Death. " O Death," he 
said, " give the Tsar my life and take me instead, for it 
doesn't matter to me whether I live or die ; for it is 
better to die by my own death than to suffer such a 
cruel punishment." 

And he looked in the glass, and saw that Death was 
standing at the Tsar's feet. Then the soldier took the 
water and sprinkled the Tsar, and he recovered com- 
pletely. " Now, Death," said the soldier, " give me 
only three hours' interval in order that I may go home 
and say farewell to my wife and my son." 

" Well, you may have three hours. Go," Death 


So the soldier went away home, lay down on his bed, 
and became very ill. 

And when Death was standing very near him, she said, 
" Now, discharged soldier, say good-bye quickly — ^you 
have only three minutes left to live in the bright world." 

So the soldier stretched himself out, took his nosebag 
from under his head, opened it, and asked : " What is 
this ? " 

Death answered : " A nosebag." 

" Well, if it is a nosebag, then jump into it ! " 

And Death instantly jumped straight into the bag. 
And the soldier, ill as he was, jumped up from his bed, 
buckled the nosebag together firmly, very tightly, threw 
it on his shoulder, and went into the Bryanski Woods, 
the slumbrous forest. And he went there, and he hung 
this bag on the bitter aspen, on the very top twig, and 
he went back home. 

From that day forward nobody died in that kingdom : 
they were born, and they kept on being born, and they 
never died. And very many years went by, and the 
soldier never took his nosebag down. One day he hap- 
pened to go into the town. He went, and on his way he 
met such an old, old lady, so old that on whichever side 
the wind blew, she inclined. " Oh, what an old lady ! " 
the soldier said. " Why, it is almost time she died." 

" Yes, father," the old dame replied. " The time has 
come and gone long since. At the time when you put 
Death into the nosebag I had only one hour left in which 
to live in the white world. I should be very glad to have 
some rest ; but unless I die, earth will not take me up ; 
and you, discharged soldier, are guilty of an unforgivable 
sin in God's eyes. For there is no single soul left on 
earth who is tortured as I am." , 

Then the soldier stayed and began to think. " Yes, 
yes ; it would be better to let Death out ; perhaps I, 
too, niight die. And beyond this, too, I have many sins 


on my conscience. Thus it is better now whilst I am 
still strong and I bear pain on this earth ; for when I 
shall become very old then it will be all the worse for 
me to suffer anything." 

So he got up and he went up into the Bryansk! Woods, 
and he went up to the aspen, and saw there the nosebag 
was hanging very high, shaking in the winds to all sides. 
" Oh, you Death," he says, " are you still alive ? " 

A faint voice came out of the nosebag : " Yes, father, 
I am alive." 

So the soldier took the nosebag, opened it, and he let 
out Death. 

And he himself lay down on his bed, bade farewell to 
his wife and son, and he begged Death that he might 
die. And she* ran outside the door with all the strength 
in her feet. " Go ! " she cried. " It is the devils who 
shall slay you — I shall not slay you ! " 

So the soldier remained alive and healthy. And he 
thought : " Shall I go straight into the burning pitch, 
for then the devils will throw me into the seething 
sulphur until such time as my sins shall have been 
melted from off me." And he bade farewell from all, 
and he went with the knapsack in his hand straight into 
the burning pitch. 

And he went on : may-be near, may-be far, may-be 
downhill, may-be uphill, may-be short, may-be long ; 
and he at last arrived in the abyss, and he looked, and 
all round the burning cauldron there stood watchmen. 
As soon as he stopped at the gate a devil asked who was 

" A guilty soul to be tortured." 

" Why do you come ? What are you carrying with 
you ? " 

" Oh, a nosebag." 

And the devil shrieked out of his full throat and made 

* Death is feminine in Russian. 


a tremendous stir. All the infernal powers roused them- 
selves and looked out of the gates and windows with 
their unbreakable bolts. 

And the soldier went all round the cauldron, and he 
called out to the master of the cauldron : " Let me in, 
please ; do let me into the cauldron. I have come to 
you to be tortured for my sins." 

" No, I will not let you in. Go away wherever you 
will — there is no room for you here." 

" Well, if you will not let me in to be tortured, at 
least give me two hundred souls. I will take them up to 
God, and perhaps the Lord will pardon my faults." 

And the master of the cauldron answered : " I will 
add fifty more souls to the lot ; only do go away ! " So 
he instantly ordered two hundred and fifty souls to be 
counted out and to be taken to the rear gates in order 
that the soldier might not see him. 

So the soldier gathered up the guilty souls, and he 
went up to the gates of Paradise. 

The Apostles saw him, and said to the Lord : " Some 
soldier or other has come up here with two hundred and 
fifty souls from hell ! " 

" Take them into Paradise, but do not let the soldier 

But the soldier had given up his nosebag to one guilty 
sovd, and had told it : " Just look here. When you enter 
the gates of Paradise, say at once : ' Soldier, jump into 
the nosebag ! ' " 

Then the gates of Paradise opened, and the souls 
began to go in ; and this guilty soul also went in, and for 
sheer joy forgot all about the soldier. 

Thus the soldier was left behind, and could not find 
any home in either place, and for long after that he still 
had to live and go on living in the white world. And 
after very many days he died. 


Once upon a time there was a king who was a widower. 
He had twelve daughters : each was fairer than the 
others. Every night these princesses went where nobody 
knew : it was only for twenty-four hours, and they 
always wore out a new pair of shoes. Now the king 
had no shoes ready for them, and he wanted to know 
where they went at night and what they did. So he 
made a feast ready, and he summoned all the kings and 
korolevichi, all the boydrs, and the merchants and the 
simple folk, to it, and he asked them, " Can any of you 
guess this riddle ? Whoever guesses it I wiU give him 
my beloved daughter as a wife and a half of my kingdom 
as a dowry." 

No one was able to find out where the princesses went 
at night. Only one poor nobleman cried out, " Your 
kingly Majesty, I will find out ! " 

" Very well ; go and find out." 

So then the poor nobleman began pondering and 
saying to himself, " What have I done ? I have under- 
taken to find out, and I don't know myself. If I don't 
find out now, possibly the king will put me under arrest." 

So he went out of the palace beyond the city, and 
went on and on, and at last he met an old woman on the 
road who asked him, " What are you thinking of, doughty 
youth ? " 

And he answered, " How should I, Babushka, not 
become thoughtful ? I have undertaken to discover for 
the king where his daughters go by night." 

" Oh, this is a difficult task, but it can be done. Here, 



I will give you the cap of invisibility ; with that you 
cannot be seen. Now, remember, when you go to sleep 
the princesses wiU pour a sleeping-draught out for you : 
you turn to the wall and pour it into the bed and do 
not drink it." 

So the poor nobleman thanked the old woman and 
returned to the palace. Night-time approached and 
they gave him a room next to that in which the princesses 
slept. So he lay on the bed and began to keep watch. 
Then one of the princesses brought sleeping-drugs in 
wine and asked him to drink her health. He could not 
refuse, and so he took the goblet, turned to the wall, 
and poured it into the bed. At midnight the princesses 
went to look whether he was asleep or not. Then the 
poor nobleman pretended to be as sound asleep as a log, 
and himself kept a keen look out for every noise. 

" Now, sisters, our watchman has gone to sleep : it 
is time we set out on our promenade : it is time." 

So they all put on their best clothes, and the elder 
sister went to her bedside, moved the bed, and an 
entrance into the subterranean realm instantly opened 
up beneath, leading to the home of the Accursed Tsar. 

They all went down a flight of stairs, and the poor 
nobleman quietly got off his bed, put on the cap of 
invisibility, and followed them. He, without noticing, 
touched the youngest princess's dress : she was frightened 
and said to her sisters, " O my sisters, somebody has 
stepped on my dress. This is a foretokening of woe." 

" Nonsense ; it does not mean anything of the sort ! " 

So they all went down the flight of steps into a grove, 
and in that grove there were golden flowers. Then the 
poor nobleman broke off and plucked a single sprig, and 
the entire grove rustled. 

" Oh, sisters," said the youngest sister, " some un- 
fortunate thing is injuring us. Did you hear how the 
grove rustled ? " 


" Do not fear ; this is the music in the Accursed Tsar's 

So they went into the Tsar's palace. He, with his 
lacqueys, met them ; music sounded ; and they began 
dancing : and they danced until their shoes were worn 
thin. Then the Tsar bade wine to be served to his 
guests. The poor nobleman took a single goblet from 
under his nose, poured out the wine, and put the cup 
into his pocket. 

At last the rout was over, and the princesses bade 
farewell to their cavaliers, promised to come another 
night, turned back home, undressed and lay down to 

Then the king summoned the poor nobleman, and 
asked him, " Did you keep watch on my daughters ? " 

" Yes, I did, your Majesty." 

" Where did they go ? " 

" Into the subterranean realm, to the Accursed Tsar, 
where they danced all night long." 

So the king summoned his daughters, and began cross- 
examining them. " Where do you go at night ? " 

So the princesses tried a feint : " We have not been 

" Were you not with the Accursed Tsar ? There is 
this poor nobleman who can turn evidence on you. He 
is able to convict you." 

" What do you mean, batyushka ? He can convict us 
when all night he slept the sleep of the dead ? " 

Then the poor nobleman brought the golden flower 
out of his pocket, and the goblet, and said, " There is 
the testimony." 

What could they do ? The princesses had to ac- 
knowledge their guilt, and the king bade the entrance to 
the subterranean realm be slated up. And he married 
the poor nobleman to the youngest daughter, and they 
lived happily ever after. 


Once upon a time there was a merchant who had been 
married for twelve years and had only one daughter, 
Vasilisa the Fair. When her mother died the girl was 
eight years old. On her death-bed the mother called 
the maiden to her, took a doll out of her counterpane, 
said : " Vasilisushka, hear my last words. I am dying, 
and I will leave you my mother's blessing and this doll. 
Keep this doll always by you, but show it to nobody, 
and no misfortune can befall you. , Give it food and ask 
it for advice. After it has eaten, it will tell you how to 
avoid your evil." Then the wife kissed her daughter 
and died. 

After the wife's death the merchant mourned as it 
behoved, and then he thought of a second wife. He was 
a handsome man and found many brides, but he liked 
one widow more than any one. She was no longer 
young, and had two daughters of about the same age as 
Vasilisa. So she was an experienced housewife and mother. 
The merchant married her, but he had made a mistake, 
for she was no good mother to his own daughter. 

Vasilisa was the fairest damsel in the entire village, 
and the stepmother and the sisters envied her therefore. 
And they used to torture her by piling all the work they 
could on her, that she might- grow thin and ugly, and 
might be tanned by the wind and the sun. And the 
child lived a hard life. Vasilisa, however, did all her 
work without complaining, and always grew more beauti- 
ful and plumper, while the stepmother and her daughters, 
out of sheer spite, grew thinner and uglier. Yet there 



they sat all day long with their hands folded, just like 
fine ladies. How could this be ? 

It was the doll that had helped Vasilisa. Without her 
the maiden could never have done her task. Vasilisa 
often ate nothing herself, and kept the tastiest morsels 
for the doll ; and when at night they had all gone to 
bed, she used to lock herself up in her cellaret below, 
give the doll food to eat, and say, " DoUet, eat and listen 
to my misery. I am living in my father's house, and my 
lot is hard. My evil stepmother is torturing me out of 
the white world. Teach me what I must do in order to 
bear this life." 

Then the doll gave her good advice, consoled her, 
and did all her morning's work for her. Vasilisa was 
told to go walking, plucking flowers ; and all her flower- 
beds were done in time, all the coal was brought in, and 
the water-jugs carried in, and the hearthstone was hot. 
Further, the doll taught her herb-lore ; so, thanks to her 
doll, she had a merry life ; and the years went by. 

Vasilisa grew up, and all the lads in the village sought 
her. But the stepmother's daughters nobody would 
look at ; and the stepmother grew more evil than ever 
and answered all her suitors : "I will not give my eldest 
daughter before I give the elders." So she sent aU the 
bargainers away, and to show how pleased she was, 
rained blows on Vasilisa. 

One day the merchant had to go away on business for 
a long time ; so the stepmother in the meantime went 
over to a new house near a dense, slumbrous forest. In 
the forest there was a meadow, and on the meadow there 
was a hut, and in the hut Baba Yaga lived, who would 
not let anybody in, and ate up men as though they were 
poultry. Whilst she was moving, the stepmother sent 
her hated stepdaughter into the wood, but she always 
came back perfectly safe, for the doU showed her the 
way by which she could avoid Baba Yaga's hut. 


So one day the harvest season came and the stepmother 
gave all three maidens their task for the evening : one 
was to make lace and the other to sew a stocking, and 
Vasilisa was to spin. Each was to do a certain amount. 
The mother put all the fires out in the entire house, 
and left only one candle burning where the maidens 
were at work, and herself went to sleep. The maidens 
worked on. The candle burned down, and one of the 
stepmother's daughters took the snuffers in order to cut 
down the wick. But the stepmother had told her to 
put the light out as though by accident. 

" What is to be done now ? " they said. " There is 
no fire in the house and our work is not finished. We 
must get a light from the Baba Yaga." 

" I can see by the needles," said the one who was 
making lace. 

" I also am not going," said the second, " for my 
knitting needles give me light enough. You must go 
and get some fire. Go to the Baba Yaga ! " And they 
turned Vasilisa out of the room. 

And Vasilisa went to her room, put meat and drink 
before her doU, and said : " DoUy dear, eat it and listen 
to my complaint. They are sending me to Baba Yaga 
for fire, and the Baba Yaga will eat me up." 

Then the DoUet ate, and her eyes glittered like two 
lamps, and she said : " Fear nothing, Vasilisushka. Do 
what they say, only take me with you. As long as I am 
with you Baba Yaga can do you no harm." Vasilisa put 
the doll into her pocket, crossed herself, and went 
tremblingly into the darksome forest. 

Suddenly a knight on horseback galloped past her all 
in white. His cloak was white, and his horse and the 
reins : and it became light. She went further, and 
suddenly another horseman passed by, who was all in 
red, and his horse was red, and his clothes : and the sun 
rose. Vasilisa went on through the night and the next 


day. Next evening she came to the mead where Baba 
Yaga's hut stood. The fence round the hut consisted 
of human bones, and on the stakes skeletons glared out 
of their empty eyes. And, instead of the doorways and 
the gate, there were feet, and in the stead of bolts there 
were hands, and instead of the lock there was a mouth 
with sharp teeth. And Vasilisa was stone-cold with 

Suddenly another horseman pranced by on his way. 
He was all in black, on a jet-black horse, with a jet-black 
cloak. He sprang to the door and vanished as though 
the earth had swallowed him up : and it was night. 
But the darkness did not last long, for the eyes in all the 
skeletons on the fence glistened, and it became as light 
as day all over the green. 

Vasilisa trembled with fear, but remained standing, 
for she did not know how she could escape. Suddenly 
a terrible noise was heard in the forest, and the tree- 
boughs creaked and the dry leaves crackled. And out of 
the wood Baba Yaga drove in inside the mortar with the 
pestle, and with the broom swept away every trace of 
her steps. At the door she stopped, sniffed aU the way 
round, and cried out : 

" Fee, Fo, Fi, Fum, I smell the blood of a Russian mum ! ' 

Who is there ? " 

Vasilisa, shuddering with dread, stepped up to her, 
bowed low to the ground, and said : " Mother, I am 
here. My stepmother's daughters sent me to you to 
ask for fire." 

" Very well," said Baba Yaga : " I know them. Stay 
with me, work for me, and I will give you fire. Other- 
wise I shall eat you up." 

Then she went to the door, and she cried out : " Ho ! 
my strong bolts, draw back, my strong door, spring 
open ! " And the door sprang open, and Baba Yaga 


went in whistling and whirring, and Vasilisa followed 

Then the door closed, and Baba Yaga stretched herself 
in the room and said to Vasilisa : " Give me whatever 
there is in the oven. I am hungry." 

So Vasilisa Kt a splinter from the skulls on the hedge 
and fetched Baba Yaga food out of the oven, and there 
was food enough there for ten men. Out of a cellar she 
fetched kvas, mead, and wine. Baba Yaga ate and drank 
it all up. But all there was left for Vasilisa was a little of 
some kind of soup, and a crust of bread, and a snippet 
of pork. 

Baba Yaga lay down to sleep and said : " In the 
morning, to-morrow, when I go away you must clean 
the courtyard, brush out the room, get dinner ready, 
do the washing, go to the field, get a quarter of oats, 
sift it all out, and see that it is all done before I come 
home. Otherwise I will eat you up." 

And, as soon as ever she had given all the orders, she 
began snoring. 

Vasilisa put the rest of the dinner in front of the doll 
and said : " DoUet, eat it up and listen to my woe. 
Heavy are the tasks which the Baba Yaga has given me, 
and she threatens to eat me up if I don't carry them all 
out. Help me ! " 

" Have no fear, Vasilisa, thou fair maiden. Eat, pray, 
and lie down to sleep, for the morning is wiser than the 

Very early next day Vasilisa woke up. Baba Yaga was 
already up and was looking out of the window. The 
glimmer in the eyes of the skulls had dimmed ; the 
white horseman raced by : and it dawned. Baba Yaga 
went into the courtyard, and whistled, and the mortar, 
the pestle, and the besom appeared at once, and the red 
horseman came by: and the sun rose. Baba Yaga sat 
in the mortar and went by, thrusting the mortar with 


the pestle, and with the besom she removed every trace 
of her steps. 

Vasilisa, left all by herself, looked over the house of 
the Baba Yaga, wondered at all the wealth gathered in, 
and began to consider what she should start with. But 
all the work was already done, and the doll had sifted 
out the very last of the ears of oats. 

" Oh, my saviour ! " said Vasilisa. " You have helped 
me in my great need." 

" You now have only to get dinner ready," the doll 
answered, and clambered back into Vasilisa's pocket. 
" With God's help get it ready, and stay here quietly 

In the evening Vasilisa laid the cloth and waited for 
Baba Yaga. The gloaming came, and the black horseman 
reached by : and it at once became dark, but the eyes 
in the skulls glowed. The trees shuddered, the leaves 
crackled, Baba Yaga drove in, and Vasilisa met her. 

" Is it all done ? " Baba Yaga asked. 

" Yes, grandmother : look ! " said Vasilisa. 

Baba Yaga looked round everywhere, and v/as rather 
angry that she had nothing to find fault with and said : 
" Very well." Then she cried out : " Ye my faithful 
servants, friends of my heart ! Store up my oats." 
Then three pairs of hands appeared, seized the oats and 
carried them off. 

Baba Yaga had her supper, and, before she went to 
sleep, once more commanded Vasilisa:, "To-morrow 
do the same as you did to-day, but also take the hay 
which is lying on my field, clean it from every trace of 
soil, every single ear. Somebody has, out of spite, mixed 
earth with it." 

And, as soon as she had said it, she turned round to 
the wall and was snoring. 

V?.silisa at once fetched her doll, who ate, and said as 
the had the day before : " Pray and lie down to sleep, 


for the morning is wiser than the evening. Everything 
shall be done, Vasilisushka." 

Next morning Baba Yaga got up and stood at the 
window, and then went into the courtyard and whistled ; 
and the mortar, the besom, and the pestle appeared at 
once, and the red horseman came by : and the sun rose. 
Baba Yaga sat in the mortar and went off, sweeping 
away her traces as before. 

Vasilisa got everything ready with the help of her doll. 
Then the old woman came back, looked over everything, 
and said : " Ho, my faithful servants, friends of my 
heart ! Make me some poppy-oil." Then three pairs of 
hands came, laid hold of the poppies and carried them off. 

Baba Yaga sat down to supper, and Vasilisa sat silently 
in front of her. " Why do you not speak ; why do you 
stay there as if you were dumb ? " Baba Yaga asked. 

" I did not venture to say anything ; but if I might, 
I should Hke to ask some questions." 

" Ask, but not every question turns out well : too 
knowing is too old." 

" Still, I should like to ask you of some things I saw. 
On my way to you I met a white horseman, in a white 
cloak, on a white horse : who was he ? " 

" The bright day." 

" Then a red horseman, on a red horse, in a red cloak, 
overtook me : who was he ? " 

" The red sun." 

" What is the meaning of the blick horseman who 
overtook me as I reached your door, grandmother ? " 

" That was the dark night. Those are my faithful 

Vasilisa then thought of the three pairs of hands and 
said nothing. 

" Why don't you ask any further ? " Baba Yaga asked. 

" I know enough, for you say yourself ' too knowing 
is too old.' " 


" It is well you asked only about things you saw in the 
courtyard, and not about things without it, for I do not 
like people to tell tales out of school, and I eat up every- 
body who is too curious. But now I shall ask you, how 
did you manage to do all the work I gave you ? " 

" By my mother's blessing ! " 

" Ah, then, get off with you as fast as you can, blessed 
daughter ; no one blessed may stay with me ! " 

So she turned Vasilisa out of the room and kicked her 
to the door, took a skull with the burning eyes from the 
fence, put it on a staff, gave it her and said, " Now you 
have fire for your stepmother's daughters, for that was 
why they sent you here." 

Then Vasilisa ran home as fast as she could by the 
light of the skull ; and the flash in it went out with the 

By the evening of the next day she reached the house, 
and was going to throw the skuU away, when she heard 
a hollow voice coming out of the skull and saying : " Do 
not throw me away. Bring me up to your stepmother's 
house." And she looked at her stepmother's house and 
saw that there was no light in any window, and decided 
to enter with the skull. She was friendlily received, and 
the sisters told her that ever since she had gone away 
they had had no fire ; they were able to make none ; 
and all they borrowed of their neighbours'went out as 
soon as it came into the room. 

" Possibly your fire may burn ! " said the stepmother. 

So they took the skuU into the room, and the burning 
eyes looked into the stepmother's and the daughters' 
and singed their eyes out. Wherever they went, they 
could not escape it, for the eyes followed them every- 
where, and in the morning they were^all^^burned to 
cinders. Vasilisa alone was left alive. 

Then Vasilisa buried the skull in the earth, locked the 
house up, and went into the town. And she asked a 


poor old woman to take her home and to give her food 
until her father came back ; she said to the old woman, 
" Mother, sitting here idle makes me feel dull. Go and 
buy me some of the very best flax ; I should Hke to 

So the old woman went and bought good flax. Vasilisa 
set herself to work, and the work went merrily along, 
arid the skein was as smooth and as fine as hair, and when 
she had a great deal of yarn, no one would undertake 
the weaving, so she turned to her doU, who said : " Bring 
me some old comb from somewhere, some old spindle, 
some old shuttle, and some horse mane ; and I will do 
it for you." 

Vasilisa went to bed, and the doll in that night made 
a splendid spinning stool ; and by the end of the winter 
all the linen had been woven, and it was so fine that it 
could be drawn like a thread through the eye of a needle. 
And in the spring they bleached the linen, and Vasilisa 
said to the old mistress : " Go and sell the cloth, and 
keep the money for yourself." 

The old woman saw the cloth and admired it, and 
said : " Oh, my child ! nobody except the Tsar could 
ever wear such fine linen ; I will take it to Court." 

The old woman went to the Tsar's palace, and kept 
walking up and down in front of it. 

The Tsar saw her and said : " Oh, woman, what do 
you want ? " 

" Almighty Tsar, I am bringing you some wonderful 
goods, which I wiU show to nobody except you." 

The Tsar ordered the old woman to be given audience, 
and as soon as ever he had seen the linen he admired it 
very much. " What do you want for it ? " he asked her. 

" It is priceless, Batyushka," she said ; " I will give 
it you as a present." 

And the Tsar thought it over and sent her away with 
rich rewards. 


Now the Tsar wanted to have shirts made out of this 
same Hnen, but he could not find any seamstress to under- 
take the work. And he thought for long, and at last he 
sent for the old woman again, and said : " If you can 
spin this linen and weave it, perhaps you can make a 
shirt out of it ? " 

" I cannot weave and spin the linen," said the old 
woman ; " only a maiden can who is staying with me." 

" Well, she may do the work." 

So the woman went home and told Vasilisa everything. 

" I knew that I should have to do the work ! " said 
Vasilisa. And she locked herself up in her little room, 
set to work, and never put her hands again on her lap 
until she had sewn a dozen shirts. 

The old woman brought the Tsar the shirts, and 
Vasilisa washed and combed herself, dressed herself, and 
sat down at the window, and waited. Then there came 
a henchman of the Tsar's, entered the room and said : 
" The Tsar would fain see the artist who has sewn him 
the shirts, and he wants to reward her with his own 

Vasilisa the Fair went to the Tsar. When he saw her, 
he fell deep in love with her. " No, fairest damsel ; I 
will never part from you. You must be my wife." 

So the Tsar took Vasilisa, with her white hands, put 
her next to him, and bade the bells ring for the wedding. 

Vasilisa's father came back home, and was rejoiced at 
her good luck, and stayed with his daughter. 

Vasilisa also took the old woman to live with her, and 
the doll ever remained in her pocket. 


A Pig was going to. church at St. Petersburg, and the 
Wolf met him. 

" ^^§§7' -Piggy' where are you faring ? " 

" To St. Petersburg, to pray to God." 

" Take me with ! " 

" Come along, Gossip." 

So they went on together, and met the Vixen. 

" Pig, where are you going ? " 

" To St. Petersburg, so please you." 

" Take me with ! " 

" Come along. Gossip." 

So they went on together and met the Hare, who said, 
" Piggy, Piggy? where are you going ? " 

" On to St. Petersburg, to pray to God ? " 

" Very well, take me with." 

" Very well, Slant-eyes, I will." 

Then they met the Squirrel, who also went with them. 
But on their road they came across a broad, deep pit. 
The Pig jumped and tumbled in, and after him the 
Wolf, the Fox, the Hare and the Squirrel. 

And they sat there for a long time, and became very 
hungry, for they had nothing to eat. 

" Let's all begin singing," said the Vixen, " and we 
will eat the animal who has the thinnest voice." 

So the Wolf struck in a deep gruff voice. Aw, aw, aw ! 
And the Pig followed in a tone just a shade softer, Oo, 
oo, oo ! But the Vixen came in fine and sharp, Eh, eh, 
eh ; whilst the Hare triUed the thinnest Ee, ee, ee in the 
world. The Squirrel also sang Ee, ee, ee ! So the 



animals at once set-to tearing up the Squirrel and Hare, 
and ate them down to their bones. 

Next day the Vixen said : " We will eat the person 
with the fattest voice." That was the Wolf with his 
great gruff Aw, aw, aw ! So they ate him up. The 
Vixen ate up the flesh and kept the heart and the bowels, 
And for three days she sat and ate them. 

And the Pig then asked her : " What are you eating ? 
— give me some ! " 

" Oh, Pig, I am eating my own flesh. You tear your 
belly up and munch it yourself." 

So the Pig did, and the Vixen feasted on him. . 

The Vixen then was left as the last person in the pit. 

Did she climb up, or is she there still ? I don't know, 
really ! 


A VERY long time ago Christ and the twelve Apostles 
walked on earth. They went about like simple people, 
and nobody could have known that it was Christ and 
the twelve Apostles. 

Once they came to a village and they asked a rich 
peasant for a ^bed. The rich peasant would not let 
them in, telling them. : " Over there there lives a widow 
who receives beggars ; go to her." So they asked the 
widow for a night's rest, and the widow was poor, poor 
of the poorest ; she had nothing at all. , She had only a." 
very little crust of bread and a mere handful of flour. . 
and she also had a cow, but the cow had no milk. 

' " Yes, fathers," the widow said, " my little hut is 
very small, and there is nowhere to lie down." 

" Never mind ; we can manage somehow ! " - 

So the widow received the wanderers, and did not 
know how to feed them. 

" How shall I feed you ? " the widow said. " I only 
have one little crust of bread and a mere handful of 
flour, and my cow is calving and has no milk. I have to 
wait for her to calve. You cannot look for bread and 
salt here." 

" Well, woman," the Saviour said, " have no fear — 
we shall all be satisfied. Give us all you have. We 
will eat the crust. Everything, woman, comes of 

So they sat down to table and began to feast, and they 
were all fed on the one crust of bread. There were 
even crumbs left behind. 



" Lo and behold ! woman, you said that there was 
nothing to feed us on," the Saviour said. " Look, we 
are all satisfied, and there are some crumbs over. Every- 
thing, woman, comes of God ! " And so Christ and the 
Apostles stayed with the poor widow. 

In the morning the widow told her sister : " Go and 
scrape up any flour you can find in the corn-bin ; possibly 
we may make a tiny pancake so as to feed our guests." 
The girl went and brought up a clay pot full. The old 
woman was not astonished when so much came — she 
simply took it as it came and started making a pancake. 
And the girl told her : " There is as much again in the 
corn-bin." So the woman cooked the pancake for the 
Saviour and the twelve Apostles, telling them : " Come 
and eat of the good fare, Idnsmen, which God has sent." 
And so they ate and bade farewell to the aged widow 
and went on the road. 

And when they were on the way there was a grey wolf 
sitting on a knoU. He bowed low to Christ and asked for 

" Lord," he bayed, " I am hungry. Lord, I should 
like to eat." 

" Go," said the Saviour to him, " to the old widow 
and eat her cow with the calf." 

And the Apostles were astonished and said : " Lord, 
why do you bid him snatch the poor widow's cow ? She 
received you so kindly and fed us, and she was so happy 
in the expectation of the calf, for then the cow would 
have had milk, which is food for every home." 

" That is how it must be," the Saviour replied. And 
they went on. 

The wolf ran and snatched up the poor widow's cow, 
and when the old woman saw this she said contentedly : 
" The Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away. 
Hallowed be His will ! " 

So Christ and the Apostles went on, and they met a 


keg with money in it on the way. The Saviour said : 
" Keg, go and roll to the rich peasant's door." 

And again the Apostles were astonished. 

" Lord, it would have been better had you bidden 
the keg roll to the poor widow's door, for the rich man 
has so much." 

" That is how it must be," the Saviour said. And 
they went on. 

And the keg with the money in it rolled straight to 
the rich peasant's door, and the peasant took and hid 
the money and was stiU discontented. " Surely the 
Lord might have sent me more," he mused. 

Christ and the Apostles went on their way and travelled 
still further. At midday the sun was very hot, and the 
Apostles wanted to drink. 

" Lord," they said, " we should like to drink." 

" Go," replied the Saviour, " and on this road you 
will find a well. There take your fill." 

So the Apostles went on and on and on, and they saw 
a well. When they looked into it there was filth and 
dirt, toads, snakes and frogs, and everything vile, and 
the Apostles would not drink of it, and swiftly returned 
to the Saviour. 

" Why did you not drink the water ? " Christ asked 

" As you. Lord, told us, the well was there, but it 
was so horrible that we could hardly look into it." 

Christ answered never a word. 

And they went forward on their road. They went on 
and on and on, and the Apostles again said to the Saviour: 
" We are thirsty." 

So the Saviour sent them in another direction. " There 
you will see a well. Go and drink your fill." 

The Apostles went to the other well, and there it 
was, beautiful — oh, so delightful ! Enchanted trees 
were there and birds of paradise. They did not ever 


want to leave it, and they drank o£ it, and the water was 
so pure, so chilled, and so sweet. And they came back. 

" Why have you been so long ? " the Saviour asked 

" Why, we only took a short drink," the Apostles 
answered, " and we were only away three little minutes." 

" You were not there three little minutes, but three 
whole years," the Lord answered. " As it was in the 
first well, so ill shall in the next world deal by the rich 
peasant ; and as it was in the second well, so good shall 
be the poor widow's fare." 


From the famous city of Murom, out of the village of 
Karacharovo, the valiant, doughty youth Ilya Muromets, 
the son of Ivan, set out far into the open fields. The 
valiant champion met on his way the mighty knight 
Svyatogor ; and the good youth was afraid of him ; 
the old Cossack, Ilya Muromets, was afraid of Svyatogor 
the knight. So he set his horse to browse and himself 
mounted a thick grey oak to avoid Svyatogor the knight. 
Svyatogor the knight arrived under that same stout oak, 
put up his white linen tent, and took his wife out of his 
pocket. She spread out the chequered table-cloths and 
put sugary food and honeyed drink for him to eat. 
Svyatogor ate until he was sated, and drank until he was 
satisfied, and lay down to repose. 

Then the wife of the knight observed Ilya up in the 
grey oak, and spoke to him in this wise : " Hail, valiant 
and brave youth ; climb down from the grey oak. If 
you do not climb down from the grey oak, you will 
arouse Svyatogor the knight, and he will give you to 
a speedy death." 

So Ilya Muromets was afraid of Svyatogor, and slid 
down from the grey oak. 

And again she spoke in this wise : " Come and do 

* llyi Muromets is one of the heroes of the Byliny : his great feat 
is the slaying of the Nightingale Robber. This tale may be eponymous 
of geography; Svyatog6r (Svydty Gory, Sacred Mountains) Murom is 
on the river Oka, in the Province of Vladimir, 'one of the oldest cities 
in Russia ; the village, of KaracMrovo is not far off. 



fornication with me, good youth. If you do not, I will 
arouse Svyatogor the knight, and he will give you to 
a speedy death." 

So he did as he was bidden and went with her into 
the pocket of Svyatogor. Svyatogor arose from a sound 
sleep, saddled his horse, and went to the Holy Moun- 
tains. Then his horse began to sink fast into the earth, 
until the knight dug his spurs into his horse's fat haunches.. 

Then the horse spoke with a human voice : " I have 
carried you Svyatogor the knight and your young wife, 
but I cannot carry two knights and your young wife as 

So then Svyatogor put his hand into the depths of 
his pocket, took his young wife out, and discovered Ilya 

" How did you get into the depths of my pocket ? " 

" Your young wife forced me in there ; she threat- 
ened my life." And Ilya Miiromets told Svyatogor the 
knight how he had fallen into the depths of the pocket. 

So Svyatogor took his young wife, cut off her unruly 
head, broke up her white body into four parts, and 
scattered them on the bare fields. 

Then Ilya and Svyatogor made themselves sworn 
brothers, and they set out to the Holy Mountains. 
They came to a deep tomb, and the tomb was decked 
with red-gold. Svyatogor the knight lay down in that 
tomb as if it had been built for him. 

" Cover me over with boards, my sworn brother," he 
said. And, as Ilya covered him over with boards, the 
boards by Divine grace grew as they were required. 
" Uncover me, my sworn brother ! " 

But Ilya Miiromets had not the strength to uncover 
him ; so he began to break the boards with his sword, 
and wherever he brandished his sword, hoops arose in 
his way. 

" Take my sword, my sworn brother ! " 


And Ilya took the sword, but had not the strength to 
U£t it up. 

" Come, my sworn brother, I will give you strength." 

Ilya then went into the pit and Svyatogor breathed on 
him with his knightly breath. Then Ilya took that sword, 
and wherever he made a stroke, iron hoops arose around. 

" Come to me a second time, my sworn brother ; I 
will give you more strength." 

Ilya Muromets said at once : " If I come down to you 
again, then our mother the grey earth will not be able 
to bear it : I have enough strength." 

But Svyatogor answered : " If you had come down 
again I should have breathed on you with a fatal breath, 
and you would have lain down to sleep beside me." 

So there Svyatogor the knight remains to this day. 


Once upon a time there was a smith who had a son six 
years old — a sturdy and sensible lad. One day the old 
man was going into the church, and stood in front of a 
picture of the Last Judgment. And he saw there was a 
devil painted there so terrible, so black, with horns and 
tail ! " What a fine devil ! " he thought. " I wdll go 
and paint such a devil for myself in the smithy." So he 
sent for a painter and told him to paint on the doors of 
the smithy a devil who should be exactly the same as the 
one he had seen in the church. This was done. 

From this time forward, the old man, whenever he 
went into the smithy, always looked at the devil and said, 
" Hail, fellow-countryman ! " And soon after he would 
go up to the forge, light the fire, and set to work. So he 
went on living for some ten years on most excellent 
terms with the devil. Then he fell iU and died. His son 
succeeded him and took over the smithy. But he had no 
such respect for the devil as his father had had. Whether 
he went early to the smithy or not, nothing prospered ; 
and, instead of greeting the devil kindly, he went and took 
his very biggest hammer and knocked the devil three 
times on his forehead, and then set to work. When a 
holy feast-day came by, he went into the church and lit 
a taper in front of the saints ; but, as he approached the 
devil he spat on him. For three whole years this went 
on ; and every day he greeted the unclean spirit with a 
hammer and spat on him. 

The devil was very patient, and endured all this mal- 
treatment. At last it became beyond bearing, and he 



would stand it no longer. " Time is up ! " he thought. 
" I must put an end to such contemptuous treatment." 
So the devil turned himself into a fine lad and came into 
the smithy. 

" How do you do, uncle ? " he said. 

" Very well, thank you ! " 

" Will you take me into the smithy as an apprentice ? 
I will heat your coals and will blow the bellows." 

Well, the smith was very glad. " I certainly will ! " 
he said. " Two heads are better than one." 

So the devil turned apprentice, and he lived a month 
with him, and soon got to know all of the smith's work 
better than the master himself ; and, whatever the 
master could not do, he instantly carried out. Oh, it 
was a fine sight, and the smith so grew to love him, and 
was so content with him — I cannot tell you how much ! 

One day he did not come into the smithy, and left his 
underling to do the work ; and it was aU done. 

Once when the master was not at home, and only the 
workman was left in the smithy, he saw an old rich lady 
passing by. He bobbed out his head, and cried : " Hail 
there ? There is new work to be done — old folks to be 
turned into young ! " 

Out skipped the old lady from her barouche and into 
the smithy. " What are you saying you can do ? Is 
that really true ? Do you mean it ? Are you mad ? " 
she asked the boy. 

" No reason to start lecturing me," the Evil Spirit 
answered. " If I didn't know how I should not have 
summoned you." 

" What would it cost ? " the rich woman asked. 

" It would cost five hundred roubles." 

" Well, there is the money. Turn me into a young 
woman ! " 

The Evil Spirit took the money, and sent the coachman 
into the village to get two buckets of milk. And he 


seized tjie lady by the legs with the pinchers, threw her 
into the forge, and burned her all up. Nothing but her 
bones were left. When the two tubs of milk came, he 
emptied them into a pail, collected all the bones, and 
threw them into the milk. Lo and behold ! in three 
minutes out the lady came, young — ^yes, alive and young, 
and so beautiful ! 

She went and sat down in the barouche and drove 
home, went up to her husband, and he fixed his eyes 
on her, and didn't know his wife. " What's the matter ? 
Have you lost your eyesight ? " the lady asked. " Don't 
you see it is I, young and stately ; I don't want to have 
an old husband. Go at once to the smith and ask him to 
forge you young, and you won't know yourself ! " 

What could the husband do ? Husbands must obey, 
and so off he drove. 

In the meantime, the smith had returned home and 
went to the smithy. He went, and there was no sign of 
his man. He looked for him everywhere, asked every- 
body, questioned them, but it was no good, and all 
trace had vanished. So he set to work by himself and 
began hammering. 

Then the husband drove up and said straight out to 
the smith : " Make a young man of me, please ! " 

" Are you in your senses, master ? How can I make a 
young'man of you ? " 

" Oh ! you know how to ! " 

" I really have not any idea ! " 

" Liar ! fool ! swindler ! Why, you turned my old 
woman into a young one. Do the same by me, otherwise 
life with her won't be worth living." 

" But I have not seen your wife ! " 

" Never mind ! — ^your young man saw her, and if he 
understood how to manage the work, surely you, as the 
craftsman, understand ! Set to work quickly, unless 
you want to taste worse of me and be birched." 


So the smith had no choice but to transform the master. 
So he quietly asked the coachman what his man had 
done with the lady, and thought : " Well, I don't mind ! 
I will do the same ; it may come out to the same tune, 
or it may not. I must look out for myself." 

So he stripped the lord to his skin, clutched his legs 
up with nippers, threw him into the forge, began to 
blow up the bellows, and burned him to ashes. After- 
wards he threw the bones — ^hurled them all into the milk, 
and began watching would a young master emerge from 
the bath. And he waited one hour, and another hour, and 
nothing happened, looked at the little tub — all the little 
bones were floating about all burned to pieces. 

And what was the lady doing ? She sent messengers 
to the smithy. " When was the master to be turned out ?" 
And the poor smith answered that the master had 
wished her a long life. And you may imagine what they 
thought of this. Soon she learned that all the smith 
had done had been to burn her husband to bits and not 
to make him young, and she was very angry indeed, sent 
her body-servants, and ordered them to take the smith 
to the gallows. The order was given, and the thing 
was done. The attendants ran to the smith, laid hold 
of him, and took him to the gallows. 

Then the same young man who had acted as a hand 
to the smith came and asked: " Where are they' taking 
you, master ? " 

" They are going to hang me ! " the smith said. And 
he explained what had happened. 

" Well, never mind, uncle ! " said the Unholy Spirit. 
" Swear that you will never strike me with your hammer, 
and I wiU secure you such honour as your father had. 
The lady's husband shall arise young and in full health." 

The smith swore and made oath that he would never 
raise the hammer on the devil and would give him every 


Then the workman ran to the smithy, and soon 
returned with the husband, crying out to the servants 
to stop and not to hang the smith, for there the master 
was ! He then untied the ropes and set the smith free. 

And the youth thereafter never more spat on the devil 
and beat him with a hammer. But his workman vanished 
and was never seen again. The master and mistress hved 
on and experienced good in their life, and they are still 
alive, if they are not dead. 


If you think of it, what a big world God's world is : 
in it rich and poor folk live, and there is room enough 
for them all ; and the Lord overlooks and judges them 
all. There are fine folk who have holidays, there are 
wailful folk who must moil ; every man has his lot. 

In the Tsar's palace, in the Prince's chamber, every 
day the Princess Without a Smile grew fairer. What a 
life she had, what plenty, what beauty round her ! 
There was enough of everything that exists that the 
soul may desire, but she never smiled, never laughed, 
and it seemed as though her heart could not rejoice at 

It was a bitter thing for the Tsar her father to gaze 
at his doleful daughter, He used to open his imperial 
palace to whoever would be his guest. " Come," he 
said, " come and try to enliven the Princess Without 
a Smile : any one who succeeds shall gain her as his 
wife." And as soon as he had said this all folk thronged 
up at the gates of the palace, driving up from all sides, 
coming on foot, Tsarevichi and princes' sons, boydrs 
and noblemen, military folk and civil. Feasts were 
celebrated, rivers of mead flowed, and the Princess 
would not smile. 

But, at the other end of the town, in his own little 
hut, there dwelt an honourable labourer. Every morn- 
ing he used to sweep out the courtyard : every evening 
he used to pasture the cattle, and he was engaged in 



ceaseless labour. His master was a rich man, a just man, 
and he did not begrudge pay. When the year came to 
an end he put a purse of money on the table, " Take," 
he said, " as much as you like " ; and the master went 

The workman went up to the table and thought, 
" How shall I not be guilty in the eyes of God if I take 
too much for my labour ? " So he took only one little 
coin, put it into the hollow of his hand and thought 
he would have a little drink. So he went to the well, and 
the coin slipped through his fingers and fell to the 
bottom. So the poor fellow had nothing left. Now, 
anybody else in his place would have cried out, would 
have become melancholy and angry, might have put 
his hands up. He did nothing of the sort. " Every- 
thing," he said, " comes from God. The Lord knows 
what He gives to each man, whose money He divides, 
from whom He takes the last money. Evidently I have 
given bad care, I have done Httle work ; and now am I 
to become angry ? " 

So he set to work once more. And all that his hand 
touched flew like fire. Then, when the term was over, 
when one year more had gone by, the master again put 
a purse of money on the table : " Take," he said, " as 
much as your soul desires " ; and he himself went out- 

Then again the labourer thought how he should not 
offend God, how he should not take too much for his 
work. So he took one coin and he went to have a little 
drink at the well. In some way or other the money fell 
from his hands and the coin tumbled into the well 
and was lost. 

So he set to work even more obstinately : at night he 
would not sleep and by day he would not eat. Other 
men saw their corn grow dry and yellow, but his master's 
corn prospered amain. Some men's cattle became bow- 


legged, but his master's gambolled in the street. And 
the horses of some masters fell downhill, but his master's 
could not be kept to the bridle. The master knew very- 
well whom he must thank, to whom he must render 
gratitude. So, when the third year came to an end, he 
laid a pile of money on the table : " Take, my dear man, 
as much as your soul desires. It is your work, and it 
is your money " ; and he went out of the room. 

Once more the workman took a single coin, went to 
the well for a drink of water and looked, and the lost 
money floated up to the surface : so he took them, and 
he then felt sure that God had rewarded him for his 
labour. He was joyous and thought, " It is now the 
time for me to go and look at the white world and to 
learn of people.'' So he thought this, and he went out 
whither his eyes gazed. 

He went on to the field, and he saw a mouse running : 
" My friend, my dear gossip, give me a coin ; I will be 
of service to you." 

So he gave the mouse a coin. 

Then he went to the forest, and a beetle crept up and 
said, " My friend, my dear gossip, give me a coin ; I 
wiU be of service to you." 

So he gave him the second coin. 

Then he came up to the stream, and he met a sheat- 
fish. " My friend, my dear gossip, give me a coin ; I 
shall be of service to you." 

And he could not refuse him, so he gave his last coin. 

So then he came into the city. Oh, it was so thronged ! 
All the doors were opened, and he looked, and the work- 
man turned in all directions, and he did not know where 
to go. In front of him stood the Tsar's palace decked 
with gold and silver, and at the window the Tsarevna 
Without a Smile sat and gazed on him straight. What 
should he do ? The light in his eyes -turned dark, and 
a sleep fell on him, and he fell straight into the mud. 


Up came the sheat-fish with his big whiskers, and after 
him the beetle and the mouse : they all ran up, they 
all pressed round him and did all the service they could. 
The little mouse took his coat: the beetle cleaned his 
boots, and the sheat-fish drove away the flies. The 
Princess Without a Smile gazed on their services, and 
she smiled. 

" Who is he who has enlivened my daughter ? " cried 
the King. One man said " I," and another man said 

" No," said the Princess, " that is the man there " ; 
and she pointed out the workman. 

Instantly he was taken into the palace, and the wcwk- 
man stood in the imperial presence, a youth such as 
never was : then the Tsar kept his princely word and 
gave what he had promised. 

I am saying it. Was not this a mere dream ? Did not 
the workman only dream it ? They assure me this is not 
the fact, and that it all happened in real truth ; so you 
must believe it. 


Once upon a time, in a certain kingdom, in a city of 
yore, there was a King who had a dwarf son. The 
Tsarevich was fair to behold, and fair of heart. But his 
father was not good : he was always tortured with 
greedy thoughts, how he should derive greater profit 
from his country and extract heavier taxes. 

One day he saw an old peasant passing by with sable, 
marten, beaver, and fox-skins ; and he asked him : 
" Old man ! whence do you come ? " 

" Out of the village. Father. I serve the Woodsprite 
with the iron hands, the cast-iron head, and the body of 

" How do you catch so many animals J " 

" The Woodsprite lays traps, and the animals are 
stupid and go into them." 

" Listen, old man ; I will give you gold and wine. 
Show me where you put the traps." 

So the old man was persuaded, and he showed the 
King, who instantly had the Woodsprite arrested and 
confined in a narrow tower. And in all the Woodsprite's 
forests the King himself laid traps. 

The Woodsprite-forester sat in his iron tower inside 
the royal garden, and looked out through the window. 
One day, the Tsarevich, with his nurses and attendants 
and very many faithful servant-maids, went into the 
garden to play. He passed the door, and the Wood- 
sprite cried out to him : " Tsarevich, if you will set me 
free, I will later on help you." 

^ Affectionate term for old servant, equivalent to uncle. 


" How shaU I do this ? » 

" Go to your mother and weep bitterly. Tell her : 
' Please, dear Mother, scratch my head.' Lay your 
head on her lap. Wait for the proper instant, take the 
key of my tower out of her pocket, and set me free." 

Ivan Tsarevich did what the Woodsprite had told him, 
took the key ; then he ran into the garden, made an 
arrow, put the arrow on a catapult, and shot it far away. 
And all the nurses and serving-maids ran off to find the 
arrow. Whilst they were all running after the arrow 
Ivan Tsarevich opened the iron tower and freed the 
Woodsprite. The Woodsprite escaped and destroyed 
all the King's traps. 

Now the King could not catch any more animals, and 
became angry, and attacked his wife for giving the key 
away and setting the Woodsprite free. He assembled 
all the boydrs, generals, and senators to pronounce the 
Queen's doom, whether she should have her head cut off, 
or should be merely banished. So the Tsarevich was 
greatly grieved ; he was sorry for his mother, and he 
acknowledged his guilt to his father. 

Then the King was very sorry, and didn't know what 
to do to his son. He asked all the boydrs and generals, 
and said : " Is he to be hanged or to be put into a 
fortress ? " 

" No, your Majesty ! " the boydrs, and generals, and 
senators answered in one voice. " The scions of kings 
are not slain, and are not put in prison ; they are sent 
out into the white world to meet whatever fate God 
may send them." 

So Ivan Tsarevich was sent out into the white world, 
to wander in the four directions, to suffer the midday 
winds and the stress of the winter and the blasts of the 
autumn ; and was given only a birch-bark wallet and 
Dyad'ka, his servant. 

So the King's son set out with his servant into the open 


fields. They went far and wide over hill and dale. Their 
way may have been long, and it may have been short ; 
and they at last reached a well. Then the Tsarevich 
said to his servant, " Go and fetch me water." 

" I will not go ! " said the servant. 

So they went further on, and they once more came to 
a well. 

" Go and fetch me water — I feel thirsty," the 
Tsarevich asked him a second time. 

" I will not go." 

Then they went on until they came to a third well. 
And the servant again would not fetch any water. And 
the Tsarevich had to do it himself. When the Tsarevich 
had gone down into the well the servant shut down the 
lid, and said : " You be my servant, and I will be the 
Tsarevich ; or I wiU never let you come out ! " 

The Tsarevich could not help himself, and was forced 
to give way ; and signed the bond to his servant in his 
own blood. Then they changed clothes and rode on, 
and came to another land, where they went to the 
Tsar's court, the servant-man first, and the King's son 

The servant-man sat as a guest with the Tsar, ate and 
drank at his table. One day he said : " Mighty Tsar, 
send my servant into the kitchen ! " 

So they took the Tsarevich as scullion, let him draw 
water and hew wood. But very soon the Tsarevich was 
a far finer cook than all the royal chefs. Then the Tsar 
noticed and began to like his young scullion, and gave him 
gold. So all the cooks became envious and sought some 
opportunity of getting rid of the Tsarevich. One day he 
made a cake and put it into the oven, so the cooks put 
poison in and spread it over the cake. And the Tsar sat 
at table, and the cake was taken up. When the Tsar was 
going to take it, the cook came running up, and cried 
out : " Your Majesty, do not eat it ! " And he told all 


imaginable lies o£ Ivan Tsarevich. Then the King 
summoned his favourite hound and gave him a bit of the 
cake. The dog ate it and died on the spot. 

So the Tsar summoned the Prince and cried out to him 
in a thundering voice : " How dared you bake me a 
poisoned cake ! You shall be instantly tortured to 
death ! " 

*' I knovsr nothing about it ; I had no idea of it, your 
Majesty ! " the Tsarevich ansvs^ered. " The other cooks 
were jealous of your rewarding me, and so they have 
deliberately contrived the plot." 

Then the Tsar pardoned him, and he made him a 

One day, as the Tsarevich was taking his drove to 
drink, he met the Woodsprite with the iron hands, the 
cast-iron head, and the body of bronze. " Good-day, 
Tsarevich ; come with me, visit me." 

" I am frightened that the horses will run away." 

" Fear nothing. Only come." 

His hut was quite near. The Woodsprite had three 
daughters, and he asked the eldest : " What will you give 
Ivan Tsarevich for saving me out of the iron tower ? " 

" I will give him this table-cloth." 

With the table-cloth Ivan Tsarevich went back to his 
horses, which were all gathered together, turned it round 
and asked for any food that he Uked, and he was served, 
and meat and drink appeared at once. 

Next day he was again driving his horses to the river, 
and the Woodsprite appeared once more. " Come into 
my hut ! " 

So he went with him. And the Woodsprite asked his 
second daughter, " What will you give Ivan Tsarevich 
for saving me out of the iron tower ? " 

" I will give him this mirror, in which he can see all 
he will." 

And on the third day the third daughter gave him a 


pipe, which he need only put to his Kps, and music, and 
singers, and musicians would appear before him. 

And it was a merry life that Ivan Tsarevich now led. 
He had good food and good meat, knew whatever was 
going on, saw everything, and he had music all day long : 
no man was better. And the horses ! They — ^it was really 
wonderful — ^were always well fed, well set-up, and 

Now, the fair Tsarevna had been noticing the horse- 
herd for a long time, for a very long time, for how could 
so fair a maiden overlook the beautiful boy ? She 
wanted to know why the horses he kept were always so 
much shapelier and statelier than those which the other 
herds looked after. " I wiU one day go into his room," 
she said, " and see where the poor devil lives." As every 
one knows, a woman's wish is soon her deed. So one day 
she weiit into his room, when Ivan Tsarevich was giving 
his horses drink. And there she saw the mirror, and 
looking into that she knew everything. She took the 
magical cloth, the mirror, and the pipe. 

Just about then there was a great disaster threatening 
the Tsar. The seven-headed monster, Idolishche, was 
invading his land and demanding his daughter as his 
wife. " If you will not give her to me willy, I will take 
her nilly ! " he said. And he got ready all his immense 
army, and the Tsar fared ill. And he issued a decree 
throughout his land, summoned the boydrs and knights 
together, and promised any who would slay the seven- 
headed monster half of his wealth and half his realm, and 
also his daughter as his wife. 

Then all the princes and knights and the boydrs 
assembled together to fight the monster, and amongst 
them Dyad'ka. The horseherd sat on a pony and rode 

Then the Woodsprite came and met him, and said ; 

Where are you going, Ivan Tsarevich ? " 


" To the war." 

" On this sorry nag you will not do much, and still less 
if you go in your present guise. Just come and visit me." 

He took him into his hut and gave him a |;lass of 
vodka. Then the King's son drank it. " Do you feel 
strong ? " asked the Woodsprite. 

" If there were a log there fifty puds, I could throw it 
up and allow it to fall on my head without feeling the 

So he was given a second glass of vodka. 

" How strong do you feel now ? " 

" If there were a log here one hundred puds, I could 
throw it higher than the clouds on high." 

Then he was given a third glass of vodka. 

" How strong are you now ? " 

" If there were a column stretching from heaven to 
earth, I should turn the entire universe round." 

So the Woodsprite took vodka out of another bottle 
and gave the King's son yet more drink, and his strength 
was increased sevenfold. They went in front of the 
house ; and he whistled loud, and a black horse rose out 
of the earth, and the earth trembled imder its hoofs. 
Out of its nostrils it breathed flames, columns of smoke 
rose from its ears, and as its hoofs struck the ground 
sparks arose. It ran up to the hut and fell on its Imees. 

" There is a horse ! " said the Woodsprite. And he 
gave Ivan Tsarevich a sword and a silken whip. 

So Ivan Tsarevich rode out on his black steed against 
the enemy. On the way he met his servant, who had 
climbed a birch-tree and was trembling for fear. Ivan 
Tsarevich gave him a couple of blows with his whip, 
and started out against the hostile host. He slew many 
people with the sword, and yet more did his horse 
trample down. And he cut off the seven heads of the 

Now Marfa Tsarevna was seeing all this, because Ihe 


kept looking in the glass, and so learned all that was 
going on. After the battle she rode out to meet Ivan 
Tsarevich, and asked him : " How can I thank you ? " 

" Give me a kiss, fair maiden ! " 

The Tsarevna was not ashamed, pressed him to her 
very heart, and kissed him so loud that the entire host 
heard it ! 

Then the King's son struck his horse one blow and 
vanished. Then he returned to his room, and sat there 
as though nothing had happened, whilst his servant 
boasted that he had gone to the battle and slain the foe. 
So the Tsar awarded him great honours, promised him his 
daughter, and set a great feast. But the Tsarevna was 
not so stupid, and said she had a severe headache. 

What was the future son-in-law to do ? " Father," he 
said to the Tsar, " give me a ship, I will go and get 
drugs for my bride ; and see that your herdsman comes 
with me, as I am so well accustomed to him." 

The Tsar consented ; gave him the ship and the 

So they sailed away, may be far or near. Then the 
servant had a sack sewn, and the Prince put into it, and 
cast him into the water. But the Tsarevna saw the evil 
thing that had been done, through her magic mirror ; 
and she quickly summoned her carriage and drove to the 
sea, and on the shore there the Woodsprite sat weaving 
a great net. 

" Woodsprite, help me on my way, for Dyad'ka the 
servant has drowned the King's son ! " 

" Here, maiden, look, the net is ready. Help me with 
your white hands." 

Then the Tsarevna threw the net into the deep ; 
fished the King's son up, took him home, and told her 
father the whole story. 

So they celebrated a merry wedding and held a great 
feast. In a Tsar's palace mead has not to be brewed 


or any wine to be drawn ; there is always enough 

Then the servant in the meantime was buying all sorts 
of drugs, and came back. He came to the palace, was 
seized, but prayed for mercy. But he was too late, and 
he was shot in front of the castle gate. 

The wedding of the King's son was very jolly, and all 
the inns and all the beei-houses were opened for an 
entire week, for everybody, without any charge. 

I was there. I drank honey and mead, which came 
up to my moustache, but never entered my mouth. 


In a certain kingdom once there lived a Tsar who had 
a young son — ^Tsarevich Evstafi — ^who did not love 
visiting or dances, nor promenades, but only liked going 
in the streets and walking among the poor, the simple 
folk, and the beggars, and bestowing alms on them. 
And the Tsar was very angry with him for this, and 
commanded him to be taken up to the gallows and to be 
delivered to a cruel death. 

So the attendants took the Tsarevich, and were on 
the point of hanging him, when the Tsarevich fell on 
his knees .before his father and began to ask for three 
hours' interval. And the Tsar agreed, and gave him the 
three hours' respite. 

And the Tsarevich went to the silversmith's and 
ordered him to make three chests — one of gold, one of 
silver, and for the third he was simply to divide a stump 
into two, to mortise out a trough, and to attach a lock. 
So the smith made the three cases, and took them up to 
the gallows. 

The Tsar with all his boydrs looked on to see what was 
going to happen. And the Tsarevich opened the cases 
and showed them. On the gold one, very much gold 
had been poured, on the silver, very much silver had 
been poured, and the wooden one was buried in dirt. 
He showed them, and once more opened the cases, and 
then banged them tight. 

And the Tsar was even more angry, and he asked Prince 
Evstafi : " What is this new insolence of yours ? " 

" My king and my father," said the Tsarevich Evstafi, 


" you are here with the hoydrs to value these cases, 
what they are worth." 

Then the boydrs valued the silver case at a high price, 
and the golden one at a higher price still, and did not 
deign to look at the wooden one. 

And Evstafi Tsarevich said : " Now open the cases and 
see what is in them." 

And they opened the golden case and therie were 
snakes and frogs and all sorts of dirt in it ; and looked 
into the silver one, and they saw the same ; and looked 
into the wooden one, and there trees with leaves and 
fruit were growing, which emitted sweet odours, and in 
the middle there was a church and an orchard. 

And the Tsar was humbled ; and did not bid Evstafi 
be punished. 


In a certain kingdom, in a certain country, once there 
lived Vasili the pope and his daughter, Vasilisa Vasil- 
yevna. She used to dress in male fashion, used to sit 
astride on horseback ; shot with her gun, and did 
nothing like other girls ; and there were very few who 
knew that she was a maiden. It was always thought 
that she was a man, and they called her Vasili Vasilyevich. 
And the main reason that they so called her was because 
Vasilisa Vasilyevna loved vodka — a custom ill-befitting 
a maid. 

Once Tsar Barkhat^ (this was the name of the King) 
was travelling through this same country hunting deer, 
and Vasilisa Vasilyevna met him : she was riding out to 
hounds in a man's clothes. When Tsar Barkhat saw her, 
he asked : " Who is this young man ? " 

And an attendant answered him : " Tsar, this is no 
young man, but a maiden. I am certain of it ; she 
is the daughter of Pope Vasili, and her name is Vasilisa 

The Tsar had hardly reached home before he sent a 
note to Pope Vasili, bidding his son Vasili Vasilyevich 
come and dine with him at the imperial table. And he, 
in the meantime, went to his old evil-tempered house- 
keeper and bade her devise some means of eliciting 
whether Vasili Vasilyevich were a maiden. 

The old evil housekeeper said : " Hang an embroidery- 
frame in your palace, at the right hand, and a gun on the 
left ; if she is really Vasilisa Vasilyevna, she will, as soon 
'^ The word means velvet. 


as ever she enters the palace, first take hold o£ the frame; 
but, if it is Vasili Vasilyevich he will lay hands on the 

Tsar Barkhat obeyed the counsel of his ancient evil 
housekeeper and ordered his attendants to hang an 
embroidery-frame and a flint-lock up in the palace. 

As soon as ever her father Vasili received the Tsar's 
message he communicated it to his daughter, Vasilisa 
Vasilyevna, who at once went into the stable and saddled 
the grey horse with the silver mane, and rode straight 
out to the courtyard of Tsar Barkhat. 

Tsar Barkhat came to meet her. She humbly prayed 
God, crossed herself as is ordained, bowed to all four 
sides, and greeted Tsar Barkhat friendHwise, and with 
him entered the palace. They sat down to table 
together, ate sweetmeats, and drank strong wine. 
After the dinner Vasilisa Vasilyevna went for a walk 
with the Tsar through the palace. As soon as ever she 
saw the embroidery-frame she began to scold Tsar 
Barkhat : " Whatever nonsense have you hanging up 
there. Tsar Barkhat ? I never saw such girlish trash in 
my father's house, and I have never heard of it, and yet 
you find it hanging in Tsar Barkhat's palace ! " And 
she promptly bade a courteous farewell to the Tsar and 
rode home. 

And the Tsar was still in a quandary whether she were 
a maiden or not. Two days later Tsar Barkhat sent 
another message to Pope Vasfli, begging him send his son 
Vasili Vasilyevich. As soon as Vasilisa Vasilyevna heard 
that she went into the stable and saddled the grey horse 
with the silver mane, and galloped away to Tsar Barkhat's 
courtyard. Tsar Barkhat came to meet her, and she 
greeted him f riendlily, modestly prayed to God, crossed 
herself, as is becoming, and bowed to the four quarters 
of the wind. At the advice of the old and evil house- 
keeper he had commanded a sweet pie to be made for 


supper and pearls to be mixed in it, for the old hag said : 
" If it is only Vasilisa Vasilyevna, she will take up the 
pearls ; but, if it is Vasili Vasilyevich, he will throw 
them under the table." 

So they passed the time merrily and they sat down. 
The Tsar sat at table and Vasilisa Vasilyevna on his right. 
They ate sweetmeats and they drank strong wines. 
Then there came the pie, and as soon as even Vasilisa 
Vasilyevna's spoon touched it, it tingled on the pearls ; 
and she flung them and the pie under the table, and 
began to scold the Tsar. " Who," she asked, " put these 
into the pie ? Whatever nonsense have you here, Tsar 
Barkhat ? I never saw such girlish trash in my father's 
house, and I have never heard of them, and yet you find 
them in Tsar Barkhat's food ! " And she bade farewell 
courteously and rode home. 

Still the Tsar was utterly at a loss whether it were a 
maiden, and he had made up his mind to find out. So, 
two days, later, the Tsar, at the advice of the old evil- 
minded housekeeper, had the bath heated, for the old 
woman said : " If it is only Vasilisa Vasilyevna she will 
not go into the bath together with the Tsar." So the 
bath was heated, and Tsar Barkhat sent Pope Vasfli another 
message that he would like to have his son Vasili Vasilye- 
vich as his guest ; and when Vasilisa Vasilyevna heard of 
it she went into the stable and saddled the grey horse 
with the silver mane, and galloped away to Tsar Bark- 
hat's courtyard. He received her at the state entrance. 
They greeted each other friendlily, and she trod on 
velvet pile into the palace. As she came in she prayed 
devoutly, crossed herself, as is seemly, and bowed to all 
four quarters, and sat together with the Tsar at table. 
They ate sweetmeats and drank strong wine. 

After the dinner the Tsar said : " Will you not come 
with me into the bath, Vasili Vasilyevich ? " 

" If you wish it, mighty Tsar," Vasilisa Vasilyevna 


answered. " It is a long time since I have had a bath, 
and I should like a steam bath." 

But before ever the Tsar had had time to undress in 
the front room, she was in the bath and out of it, so 
quick was she, and the Tsar was as puzzled as ever. In 
the meantime Vasilisa Vasilyevna had written a letter 
and bade the attendants give it to the Tsar as soon as he 
came out of the bath. And this was what she wrote : 

" O you crow, you Tsar Barkhat ! The crow has not 
caught the falcon in the garden. I am not Vasili 
Vasilyevich, but Vasilisa Vasilyevna ! " 

This was the way in which Tsar Barkhat was hood- 
winked ; and you see how clever and beautiful Vasilisa 
Vasilyevna was. 


One day an old, old man was wandering about the earth, 
and he asked for a night's shelter from the peasant. 
" Certainly," said the peasant — " I shall be only too glad ; 
only, will you go on telling me stories all night long ? " 

" Yes, all right ! I will tell you stories ; only, let me 
rest here." 

" Then, pray, come in ! " 

So the old man entered the hut and lay down on the 
sleeping bench on the top of the stove. 

And the master said : " Make yourself ready, honoured 
guest. We shall have supper. Now, old man, tell me a 

" Wait a bit ; I had better tell you one in the morn- 

" As it please you ! " And they lay down to sleep. 

Then the old man went to sleep, and dreamed that 
there were two candles blazing in front of the images 
and two birds fluttering in the izba.''- He felt thirsty, 
and wanted to drink, got off the sleeping bench, and there 
were newts running about on the floor. And he went up 
to the table, and saw frogs jumping and croaking on it. 
Then he looked up at the master's eldest son, and there 
was a snake lying in between him and his wife. And he 
looked at the second son, and on the second son's wife 
there was a cat which was yawning at the man. Then he 
looked at the third son, and between him and his wife 
there was a young man lying. This all seemed rather 
queer to the old man, and rather strange. 

1 Hut. 


So he went and lay on the corn-Mln, and there he 
heard shrieks : " Sister ! Sister ! come and fetch me ! " 
Then he went and lay under the fence, and there he 
heard a cry : " Pull me out and stick me in again ! " 
Then he went and lay on the cauldron, and he heard a 
cry : " I am hanging on the cross-beam ! I am falling 
on the cross-beam ! " Then he went back into the hut. 

The master woke up and said : " Now tell me a story." 

But the old man replied : " I shall not tell you a 
story, only the truth. Do you know what I have just 
dreamed ? I went to sleep and thought I saw two candles 
blazing in front of the images and two birds fluttering 
inside the hut." 

" Those are my two angels fluttering about." 

" And I also saw a snake lying between your son and 
his wife." 

" That is because they quarrel." 

" And I looked also at your second son, and there was 
a cat sitting on his wife, and yawning at the man." 

" That means that they are bad friends, and the wife 
wants to get rid of the husband." 

" Then, when I looked at your next son, I saw a youth 
lying in between them." 

" That ifi not a youth, but an angel who was lying 
there ; and that is why they are on such good and 
loving terms." 

" Why is it, then, master of the house, when I sKpped 
off the sleeping shelf that there were newts running on 
the floor ; and, when I wanted to drink at the table, I 
saw frogs leaping about and croaking ? " 

" Because," the peasant answered, " my daughters-in- 
law do not sweep up the lathes ; but put the kvas on 
the table when they are sitting round together without 
saying grace." 

" Then I went to sleep on the corn-kiln, and I heard 
a cry : ' Sister ! Sister ! come and fetch me ! ' " 


" That means that my sons never put the brush back 
into its place and say the proper blessing." 

" Then I went to lie under the fence, and I heard 
a cry : ' Pull me out and stick me in again ! ' " 

" That means that the stick's upside-down." 

" Then I went and lay under the cauldron. And I 
heard a cry o£ ' I am hanging on the cross-beam ! I am 
falling on the cross-beam ! ' " 

" That means," said the master, " that, when I die, 
my entire house will fall." 


In a certain kingdom, in a certain State, lived a peasant 
who had two sons. The recruiting-sergeant came 
round and took the elder brother. So the elder brother 
served the Tsar with faith and loyalty, and was so fortu- 
nate in his service that in a few years he attained a 
general's rank. 

Now at this same time there was a new enlistment, 
and the lot fell on his younger brother, and they shaved 
his brow. And it so happened that he was made to 
serve in the very same regiment in which his brother 
was a general. The soldier recognised the general, but 
it was no good, because the general would not acbaow- 
ledge him at all : "I do not know you, and you must 
not claim acquaintance with me ! " 

One day the soldier was standing on sentry-go at the 
ammunition-wagons just outside the general's quarters, 
and the general was giving a great dinner, and a multi- 
tude of officers and gentlemen were going to him. The 
soldier saw that it was jollity within, but that he him- 
self had nothing at all, and he began to weep bitter 

Then the guests began to ask him, " Tell us, soldier, 
why are you crying ? " 

" Why should I not cry f There is my ovra brother 
faring abroad and making merry, but he forgets 

Then the guests told the general of this ; but the 
general was angry : " Do not believe him, he is an 
utter liar." So he ordered him to be taken away from 



sentry-go, and to be given thirty blows with the cat, 
so that he should not dare to claim kinship. 

This offended the soldier, so he put on undress uniform 
and decamped. 

In some time, maybe long, maybe short, he found 
himself in a wood so wild, so dreamy, that he could not 
get out of it anywhere, and he began killing time and 
feeding on berries and roots. 

Just about this time the Tsar was setting out, and 
made a mighty hunt with a splendid suite. They 
galloped into the open fields, let loose the hounds, and 
sounded trumpets, and began to press in. Suddenly 
from somewhere or other a beautiful stag leapt out 
straight in front of the Tsar, dived into the river, and 
swam across to the other side right into the wood. 
The Tsar followed after him, swam over the river, leapt 
and leapt and looked; but the stag had vanished from 
view, and he had left the hunters far behind, and all 
around him was the thick dark forest. Where should 
he go ? He did not know: he could not see a single 
path. So until the fall of the evening he ambled about 
and tired himself out. 

On his way the runaway soldier met him. " Hail, 
good man, where are you going ? " 

" Oh, I was out on a hunt and I lost my way in the 
wood ; will you lead me to the right path, brother ? " 

" Who are you ? " 

" A servant of the Tsar." 

" Well, it is dark now ; we had better take shelter 
somewhere in the thickets, and to-morrow I will show 
you the way." 

So they went to look where they might pass the night, 
went on and on, and they saw a little hut. " Oho ! 
God has sent us a bed for the night ; let us go there," 
said the soldier. So they went into the little hut. 

There an old woman sat. " Hail, babushka ! " 


" Hail, soldier ! "_ 

" Give us something to eat and drink." 

" I have eaten it all up myself, and there is not any- 
thing to be had." 

" You are lying, old devil ! " said the soldier, and 
began rummaging about in the stove and on the shelves. 
And he found plenty in the old woman's hut : wine 
and food, and all ready. So they sat down at the table, 
feasted to their fill, and went to lie down in the attic. 

Then the soldier said to the Tsar, " God guards him 
who guards himself ; let one of us rest and the other 
stand guard." So they cast lots, and the Tsar had to 
take the first watch. Then the soldier gave him his 
sharp cutlass, put him at the door, bade him not go to 
sleep, and arouse him if anything should happen. Then 
he himself lay down to sleep. But he thought, " Will 
my comrade be able to stand sentry-go ? Possibly he 
is unaccustomed to it ; I will take watch over him." 
Then the Tsar stood there and stood, and soon began 
to nod. 

" What are you nodding for ? " asked the soldier : 
" are you going to sleep ? " 

" No ! " said the Tsar. 

" Well, then, keep a good look-out ! " 

So the Tsar stood a quarter of an hour, and again 
dozed off. 

" Ho, friend, you are not dozing ? " 

" No, I don't think so." And he again dozed off. 

" Ho, friend, you are not dozing ? " 

" I don't think so : if you go to sleep do not blame 

Then the Tsar stood a quarter of an hour longer, and 
his legs bowed in, he fell on the ground and went to 

The soldier jumped up, took the cutlass and went to 
recall him and to have a talk : " Why do you keep 


guard in this way ? I have served for ten years, and 
my colonel never forgave me a single sleep : evidently 
they have not taught you anything. I forgave you 
once before ; a third guilt is unpardonable. Well, now 
go to sleep ; I will stand and watch." 

So the Tsar went and lay down to sleep, and the soldier 
went sentry-guard and did not close his eyes. 

Very soon there was a whistling and a knocking, and 
robbers came into that hut. The old woman met them 
and told them, " Guests have come in to spend the 

" That is very well, babushka ; we have been rambling 
the woods in vain all night, and our luck has come into 
the hut ; give us supper." 

" But our guests have eaten and drunk everything up." 
" What bold fellows they must be : where are they ? " 
" They have gone to sleep in the garret." 
" Very well ; I will go and settle them ! " 
So a robber took a big knife and crept up into the 
garret ; but as soon as ever he had poked his head into 
the door, the soldier swept his cutlass round, and off 
came his head. 

Then the soldier took a drink and stood and waited 
on eventualities. So the robbers waited and waited 
and waited. " What a long time he has been ! " So 
they sent a man to look after him and the soldier killed 
him also, and in a short time he had chopped off the 
heads of all the robbers. 

At dawn the Tsar awoke, saw the corpses, and asked, 
" Ho, soldier, into what danger have we fallen ? " 

So the soldier told him all that had happened. Then 
they came down from the attic. When the soldier 
saw the old woman he cried out to her, " Here, stop, 
you old devil ! I must have some business with you. 
Why are you acting as a receiver for robbers ? Give 
us all the money now." So the old woman opened a 


box full of gold, and the soldier fiUed his knapsack 
with gold and all of his pockets. He then said to his 
companion : " You also take some." 

So the Tsar answered, " No, brother, I need not ; our 
Tsar has money enough without this ; and if he has it, 
we shall also have it." 

" Well, I suppose you ought to know ! " said the 
soldier, and he took him out of the wood into the broad 
road. " Go," he said, " on this road, and in an hour 
you will reach the town." 

" Farewell," said the Tsar. " Thank you for the 
service you have done me ; come and see me, and I will 
make you a happy man." 

" Very well ; but that's a fine tale ! I am a runaway 
soldier : if I show my head in the town I shall be seized 
on the spot." 

" Have no fear, soldier : the Tsar is very fond of me ; 
and, if I ask him for a favour on your behalf and tell 
him of your bravery, he will forgive you and have pity 
on you." 

" Where can I find you ? " 

" Go into the palace." 

" Very well ; I will go there to-morrow." 

So the Tsar and the soldier said good-bye. And the 
Tsar went on the broad road into his capital, and with- 
out delay he ordered all the staffs and the watches and 
the sentries to keep their eyes open, and as soon as a 
certain soldier came to give him the honour due to a 

Next day, as soon as ever the soldier had appeared 
at the barriers, a sentry ran out and gave him a generous 
honour. So the soldier wondered, " What does this 
mean ? " And he asked, " To whom are you showing 
these honours f " 

" To you, soldier." 

So he took a handful of gold out of his wallet and gave 


it to the sentry as a tip. Then he entered the town. 
Wherever he went all the sentries gave him honours, 
and he always paid them back in tips. " What a wretched 
dolt was this servant of the Tsar's : he has given a hint 
to everybody that I have plenty of money on me ! " 
So he came up to the palace, and the entire army was 
assembled there, and the Tsar met him in the same 
dress in which he had gone hunting. 

Then the soldier at last saw with whom he had passed 
the night in the wood, and he was terribly frightened. 
" This was the Tsar," he said, " and I threatened him 
with my cutlass, just as though he had been my brother! " 
But the Tsar took him by the hand and rewarded him 
with a generalship, and degraded the brother into the 
ranks, telling him he must not disown his own kin. 


Once upon a time there lived a king on the earth whose 
name was Alexander of Macedon : this was in the old 
days very long ago. So long ago that neither our grand- 
fathers, nor great-grandfathers, nor our great-great 
grandfathers, nor our great-great-great-grandfathers re- 
collect it. This Tsar was one of the greatest knights of 
all knights that ever were. No champion of earth could 
ever conquer him. He loved warfare, and all his army 
consisted entirely of knights. Whomsoever Tsar Alexan- 
der of Macedon might go to combat, he would conquer, 
and he numbered under his sway all the kings of the 

He went to the edge of the world, and he discovered 
such peoples that he, however bold he was himself, felt 
afraid of them ; ferocious folk, fiercer than wild beasts, 
who ate men ; live folks who had but one eye ; and 
that eye was on the forehead ; folks who had three 
eyes, folks who had only a single leg ; others who had 
three, and they ran as fast as an arrow darts from the 
bow. The names of these peoples were the Gogs and 
Magogs. Tsar Alexander of Macedon never lost courage 
at seeing these strange folk, but he set to and waged 
warfare on them. It may be long, it may be short, 
the war he waged — ^we do not know. Only the wild 
peoples became dispersed and ran away from him. He 
began to hunt and to chase after them, and he chased 
them into such thickets, precipices and mountains as 
no tale can tell and no pen can describe. 

So at last they were able to hide themselves from Tsar 

1 60 


Alexander of Macedon. What then did Tsar Alexander 
of Macedon do with them ? He rolled one mountain 
over them, and then another roof-wise on top ; on the 
arch he put trumpets, and he went back to his own land. 
The winds blew into the trumpets, and a fearsome roar 
was then raised to the iskies, and the Gogs and Magogs 
sitting there cried out, " Oh, evidently Alexander of 
Macedon must still be aUve '! " The Gogs and Magogs 
are stiU alive and to this day are afraid of Alexander. 
But, before the end of the world, they shall escape. 



An old man was dying, and he was enjoining on his son 
not to forget the poor. 

So on Easter Day he went into the church, and he 
took some fine eggs with him with which to greet his 
poor brothers, although his mother was very angry with 
him for so doing — for she was an evil-minded woman 
and merciless to the poor. 

When he reached the church there was only one egg 
left, and there was one dirty old man. And the lad took 
him home to break his fast with him. 

When the mother saw the poor man, she was very 
wroth. " It would be better," she said, " to break your 
fast with a dog than with such a filthy old beggar." 
And she would not break the fast. 

So the son and the old man broke their fast together, 
and went out for a walk. Then the son looked and saw 
that the dress of the old man was very shabby, but the 
cross on him burnt like fire. 

" Come," said the old man, " we will change crosses ; 
you become my brother by the cross." 

" No, brother," the lad replied, " however much I 
may wish it ; for I should get such a fine cross as you are 
carrying, and can give you nothing in return." 

But the old man overbore the youth, and they ex- 
changed. And he asked him to come as his guest on 
Tuesday in Easter week. " And if you want to find your 
way," he said, " follow the path yonder. You need only 
say, ' The Lord bless me ! ' and you will find me." 

That very Tuesday the youth set out on the footpath, 



and said : " The Lord bless me ! " and set out on his 
way journeying forth. He went a little way, and he 
heard children crying : " Brother of Christ, speak of us 
to Christ, whether we must be long in pain ? " And he 
went on a few steps farther ; and he saw maidens ladling 
water out of one well into another. " Brother of Christ!" 
they said to him, " speak of us to Christ, how long we 
must remain in torture ? " And he went on still farther, 
and saw a hedge, and beneath that hedge there became 
visible old men, and they were all covered with slime. 
And they said to him : " Brother of Christ, speak of us 
to Christ, how long shall we remain in pain ? " 

And so he went on and on. Then he saw the very old 
man with whom he had broken his fast. And the old 
man asked him : " What did you see on the way ? " 

And the youth recounted all that he had met, 

" Well, do you recognise me ? " said the old man. 
And it was only at this moment that the peasant boy 
understood that he was speaking to Jesus Christ Himself. 

" Why, O Lord, are the children tortured ? " 

" Their mother cursed them in the womb, and they 
can never enter Paradise." 

" And the maidens ? " 

" They traded in milk, and they mixed water with 
their milk ; and now for all eternity they must ladle out 


" And the old men ? " 

" They lived in the white world, and they used to say : 
* How pleasant it reaUy might be to live in this world ! 
But, as it is, there is nothing worth caring about ! ' So 
they must bear up against the mire."^ 

Then Christ led the boy into Paradise, and told him 

1 Cf. Dante, Inf. 

Fitti nel limo dicon ; 'Tristi fummo. 

Nel dolce mondo che dal sol s'allegra. . . , 

Or c'attristiam' nella belletta negra. 


his piace was ready for him there, aiad yon may be sure 
the boy was none too anxious to leave it on that day. 
And afterwards He led him into Hell, and there the 
peasant's mother was sitting. 

So the .peasant boy be^gan to beseech Christ to have 
mercy on her. " Have mercy on her. Lord ! " 

Ami. Christ bade the lad ;^ait a rope of brome-grass. 
The peasant plaited the rope of brome-grass, and the 
Lord must have supervised. 

And he brought it to Christ, Who said : " Now you 
have been weaving this rope for thirty years and have 
laboured sufficiently for your mother, rescue her out of 

And the son dangled the rope down to the mother 
who Tvas sitting in the boiling pitch. And the rope 
never burned nor singed : so did God provide. And the 
son tried and tried to drag his modier up, and caught 
hold of iher head, and she cried out to him : " You 
savage dog 1 Why, you are almost choMng me ! " Then 
the rope 'broke off, and the guilty soul once more flew 
down into the burning pitch. 

" She had not desired to escape," said Christ, " and 
all of her heart is down there, and she must stay there 
for aU eternity." 


In the sky the young bright mooa was being born, and 
on the earth, of the old prebendary, the old pope Leon, 
a son was born, a mighty knight^, and he was called by 
name Alyosha Fopovich, a fair name for him. 

When they began to feed Alyosha, what was a week's 
food for any other babe was a day's food for him, what 
was a year's food for others was a week's food for him. 

Alyosha began going about the streets and playing 
with the young boys. If he touched the little hand of 
anyone, that hand was gone : if he touched the little 
nose of anyone, that nose was done for : his play was 
insatiate and terrible. Anyone he grappled with by the 
waist, he slew. 

And Alyosha began to grow up, so he asked his mother 
and father for their blessing, for he wished to go-- and to 
fare into the open field. 

His father said to. him, " Alyosha Fopovich, you are 
faring into the open field, but we ha-ve yet one who is 
even mightier than you : do yovu take inta your service 
Marfshhy, the son of Paran." 

So the two youths mounted their good horses and they 
fared forth into the open field. The dust rose behind 
them like a column, such doughty youths' were they to 

So the two. doughty youths went on to the court of 
Prince Vlladimir. And Alyosha Fopovich went straight 
to the white stone palace, to Prince Vladimir, crossed 

^ This is a prose version of a bylina : Alyosha Popovich is one of the 
Kiev cycle. 



himself as is befitting, bowed down in learned-wise in all 
four directions, and especially low to Prince Vladimir. 
Prince Vladimir came to meet the doughty youths and 
set them down at an oaken table, gave the doughty 
youths good food and drink, and then asked their news. 
And the doughty youths sat down to eat baked ginger- 
bread and to drink strong wines. 

Then Prince Vladimir asked the doughty youths, 
" Who are ye, doughty youths ? Are ye mighty knights 
of prowess or wandering wayfarers bearing your burdens ? 
I do not know either your name or your companion's 

So Alyosha Popovich answered, " I am the son of the 
old prebendary Leon, his young son Alyosha Popovich, 
and my comrade and servant is Maryshko, the son of 

And when Alyosha had eaten and drunk he went and 
sat on the brick stove to rest from the midday heat, 
whilst Maryshko sat at the table. 

Just at that time the knight, the Snake's son, was 
making a raid and was ravaging all the kingdom of Prince 
Vladimir. Tugarin Zmyeyevich^ came to the white 
stone palace, came to Prince Vladimir. With his left 
leg he stepped on the threshold and with his right leg 
on the oaken table. He drank and ate and had conversa- 
tion with the princess, and he mocked Prince Vladimir 
and reviled him. He put one round of bread to his 
cheek and piled one on another ; on his tongue he put 
an entire swan, and he thrust off all the pastry and 
swallowed it all at a gulp. 

Alyosha Popovich was lying on the brick stove, and 
spake in this wise to Tugarin Zmyeyevich : " My old 
father, Leon the pope, had a little cow which was a 
great glutton : it used to eat up all the beer vats with 
all the lees ; and then the little cow, the glutton, came 

1 The strong man, the Serpent's son. 


to the lake, and it drank and lapped all the water out 
of the lake, took it all up and it burst, and so it would 
also have torn Tiigarin to bits after his feed." 

Then Tiigarin was wroth with Alyosha Popovich and 
burst on him with his steel knife. Alyosha turned aside 
and stood behind an oaken column. Then Alyosha 
spoke in this wise : " I thank you, Tiigarin Zmyeyevich ; 
you have given me a steel knife : I will break your white 
breast, I will put out your clear eyes, and I will behold 
your mettlesome heart." 

Just at that time Maryshko Paranov leapt out from 
behind the table, the oaken table, on to his swift feet, 
seized Tiigarin, and fell on his back and threw him over ; 
lifted up one of the chairs and hurled in the white stone 
palace, and the glass windows were shattered. 

Then Alyosha Popovich said from the brick stove, 
" O Maryshko, son of Paran, thou hast been a faithful 
servant ! " 

And Maryshko the son of Paran answered, " Do you 
give me, Alyosha Popovich, your steel knife, and I will 
break open the white breast of Tiigarin Zmyeyevich, I 
will close his clear eyes, and I will gaze on his mettlesome 

But Alyosha answered, " Hail, Maryshko Paranov, do 
you not sully the white stone palace ; let him go into 
the open field wherever he may, and we will meet him 
to-morrow in the open field." 

So, in the morning early, very early, Maryshko the 
son of Paran arose, together with the little sun, and he 
led out the stout horses to water them in the swift 
stream. Tiigarin Zmyeyevich flew into the open and 
challenged Alyosha Popovich to fight him in the open 
field. And Maryshko Paranov came to Alyosha Popovich 
and said : " God must be your judge, Alyosha Popovich : 
you would not give me your steel knife ; I should have 
carved out the white breast from that pagan thief, I 


should have gouged out his bright eyes, anid I should have 
taken out his mettlesome heart and gazed on it. Mow, 
what will youf make of Tiigacin ?' Me is flying about in 
the open." 

Then Alyosha Popovich spake in this wiser "That 
was no service, but treachery." 

So Alyosha led out his horse, saddled it with a Circas- 
sian saddle, fastened it on with twelve silken girths, not 
for the sake of decoration, but for the sake of strength. 
And Alyosha set out into the open field. Alyosha set 
out into the open field, and he saw Tugarin Zmyeyevich, 
who- was flying in the open. 

Then Alyosha made a prayer : " Holy Mother of 
God, do thou punish the black traitor, and grant out of 
the black cloud a thick gritty rain that shall damp 
Tugarin's light wingSi, and he may fall on the grey earth 
and stand on the open field !' " 

It was like two mountains falling on each other when 
Tugarin and Alyosha met. They fought with their 
clubs, and their clubs were shattered at the hil^s. Their 
lances met, and their lances broke into shreds. Then 
Alyosha Popovich got down from his saddle like a sheaf 
of oats, and Tugarin Zmyeyevich was almost striking 
Alyosha down. But Alyosha Popovich was cautious. He 
stood between his horse's feet and, turning round to the 
other side from' there, smote Tuga-rin with his steel 
knife under his right breast, and threw Tugarin from 
his good horse. And then Alyosha Pbpovich cried out, 
"Tugarin, I thank you, Tugarin Zmyeyevich, for the 
steel knife : I will tear out your white breast, I will gouge- 
out your bright eyes, and I wiU gaze on youi mettlesome 

Then Alyosha cut oil his turbulent head, and he took 
the turbulent head to Prince Vladimir. And as he went 
on he began playing with that little head, flinging it higk 
up in the air and catching it again on his sharp lance. 


But Vladimir was dismayed. " I see Tiigarin bringing 
me the turbulent head of Alyosha Popovich: he will 
now take captive aU of our Christian kingdom." 

But Maryshko Paranov gave him answer : " Do not 
be distressed, oh bright little sun, Vladimir, in thy capital 
of Kiev. If Ttigarin is coming on earth and is not flying 
in the skies he is. putting his turbulent head' on my sfied.'. 
lance. Do not be afraid, Prince Vladimir ; whatever 
comes I wiH. make friends' with him." 

Then Maryshko. the son of Paran looked out into the 
open field, and he recognised Alyosha Popovich,. and he 
said, " I can see the knightly gait and youthful step' of 
Alyosha Popovich. He is guiding his horse uphill and 
he is playing with a little head : he is throwing the little: 
head sky-high, and is catching the little head on the point 
of his sharp lance.. He who is riding is not the pagan 
Tugarin, but Alyosha Popovich, the son of the old 
prebendary, the pope Leon, who is bringing the head 
of the pagan Tugarin Zmyeyevich." 


Once upon a time in a certain country, in a certain 
kingdom, there were two peasants, Ivan and Naum. 
They entered into a partnership and went together to 
look for work, and they rambled about until they came 
to a rich village and got work with different masters. 
For the whole week they kept at work and met on 
Sunday for the first time. 

" Brother, how much have you earned ? " asked Ivan. 

" God has given me five roubles." 

" God gave them to you ? He does not give much 
unless you work for it." 

" No, Brother, without God's blessing you can do 
nothing ; you cannot gain a groat." 

So they quarrelled about this, and at last they decided, 
" We will each go our own way. We will ask the first 
man we meet which of us is right. He who loses the 
bet must sacrifice all his earnings." 

So they went on some twenty paces. Afterwards they 
came across an unholy spirit in human guise, and they 
asked him and received his reply. " What you earn for 
yourself is the proper thing ; place no reliance on God." 

Naiim gave Ivan his money and returned empty- 
handed to his master. One week later the two men met 
once again, and set about the same argument. Naum 
said : " Though you took my money from me last week, 
stiU, this week God gave me yet more." 

" If God gave it you as you said, we will once more 
ask the first person who meets us who is right. The 



loser o£ the bet shall have the money, and shall have his 
right hand hewn off." 

Naiim consented. On their way they met the same 
devil, who returned the same reply. Ivan gave Naum 
his money, hacked off his right hand, and left it behind. 

Naiim pondered for a long time what he should do 
without his right hand. Who would give him meat and 
drink ? But God is merciful. So he went to the river, 
and he lay down on a boat on the shore. " I will sit down 
here, and to-morrow I may see what I shall do, for the 
morning is wiser than the evening." 

And about midnight very many devils assembled on 
the boat and began to tell each other what tricks they 
had played. The first said : " I started a quarrel between 
two peasants, backed up the one who was in the wrong ; 
and the one, who was in the right, had his hand hacked 

" That's not much of a feat ! If he were to wave his 
hand, three times over the dew, his hand would grow 
again," said the second. 

Then the third began to boast, " I have sucked a 
lord's daughter dry, and she can hardly stir." 

" What ! if any one had any compassion on the lord, 
he would heal the daughter at once. It is as simple as 
possible. You have only to take this herb " — pointing 
to a herb on the shore — " cook it, boil her in the brew, 
and she will be healed." 

" In a certain pond," a fifth devil said, " there is a 
peasant who has put up a water-mill, and for many 
years he has been striving to make it go, but whenever 
he lets the water through the sluice, I make a hole in it, 
and aU the water -flows through." 

" What a fool your peasant is ! " said the sixth devil. 
" He ought to dam it up well, and as soon as the water 
breaks through, throw in a sheaf of straw, and all your 
work would be no good." 


Naum had listened very attentively. Next day he 
grew his hand on again, then he saw to the peasant's 
dam, and he healed the lord's daughter. Both the 
pea-sant and the lord rewarded him richly, and he lived a 
fine life. 

Onee he met his former companion, who was very 
much astonished, and asked : " How is it you have 
become so rich, and how did you grow your hand on 
again- ? " 

Naiim told him exactly what had happened, and kept 
nothing back. 

Ivan listened very attentively, and thought, " Ha ! 
I shall do the same, and shall become richer than he ! " 
So' he went to the river and lay down on the shore, in the 

And at midnight all the devils gathered together. 
" Brothers," they said, " somebody must have been 
eavesdropping on us, for the peasant's hand grew again, 
the* maidfen is healed, and the mill-wheel is turning ! " 

So they burst on the boat, found Ivan, and tore him 
into tiny bits. 

Then the. wolves wept cows' tears. 


Once ia a certain country, in a certain kingdom, there 
Mved two brothers ; one was ridi and the other jpoor. 
One day the poor brother came to the rich and asked 
him if or a horse to fetdh wood out of the forest. 1^ 
rich man lent him a horse. Then the poor man also 
adsed him for a horse-collar : this the rich brother i?e- 
fused, and became angry. Then the poor man decided 
to tie the wood to the horse's tail. And so he drove 
into the wood. He cut down so much wood that the 
horse could hardly drag it. When he got home he 
opened the door, but he forgot to remove the cross-beam. 
The horse jumped over it, but wrenched his tail out. 

The poor brother brought the rich man the horse 
back without a tail. Whea he saw the animal in this 
condition, he would not take it ; but wen.t with the 
poor man before Judge Shemyak. The poor man went 
with, his breather, and surmised he would .fare vCTyi)adly, 
for the sentence would be -exaie ; the jpaor man is a 
butt for afl, as he caruiot give anything. 

The brothers came to a rich peasaat and asked for a 
night's lodging- The peasant gave the rich man goad 
food and drink, but the poor man nothing. The poor 
man lay on the oven and saw how merry the other two 
were .making ; and fell down and killed the child in the 

Then the ^peasant decided to go with .the brothers, to 
bring a further indictment against the poor man. They 
went off together, the peasant and the rich brother in 
front, and the poor man after them. Then they crossed 



a bridge : the poor man considered that he would hardly 
escape the Court with his life ; so he jumped over the 
bridge, in order to commit suicide. But, under the 
bridge, a son was bathing his sick father, and the poor 
man fell plump on the old man and drowned him. 
Then the son also went up to the Court in order to 
bring a plaint against the poor man. 

The rich man put in a plea to the Court that his poor 
brother had torn off the horse's tail. In the meantime 
the poor man had wrapped a stone in a cloth and was 
threatening the judge with it behind the brother's back, 
for he was thinking, " If the judge goes against me, I 
will kill him." The judge believed that the poor man 
was offering him a hundred roubles so as to prove his 
case, and he gave judgment that the rich man must 
leave the horse in the poor peasant's possession until the 
tail grew again. 

Then the peasant came and complained that the poor 
man had killed his son. Once again the poor man hfted 
up the same stone in a menacing way against the judge, 
behind the peasant's back. And the judge this time felt 
perfectly sure of getting a hundred roubles more for 
the judgment. And he commanded the peasant to give 
his wife to the poor peasant until another son was born. 
" Then you can take your wife and the child back." 

This time it was the son's turn. And he brought in 
a plea that the poor man had murdered his father. 
Once again the poor man took the stone out of his pocket 
and showed it to the judge. Then the judge felt sure 
he would get altogether three hundred roubles in the 
case, and he commanded the son to go to the bridge, 
" and you, poor man, go there ; stop under the bridge ; 
and the son is to jump into the water plump on to you 
and to kill you." 

Judge Shemyak sent his servant to the poor man to 
ask for the three hundred roubles. 

SHEMYAK the judge 175 

Then the poor man showed the servant the stone with 
which he had threatened the judge : " If the judge had 
not decided in my favour I should have killed him with 
this stone ! " 

When the judge heard of this, he crossed himself 
piously and said : " Thank God I decided for the right 

The poor brother went to the rich brother to fetch 
the horse from him in accordance with the judge's 
decision, until the tail should grow again. The rich 
man did not want to give the horse, so he gave him 
instead five roubles, three quarters of corn, and a milch- 
goat ; and made peace with him for all time. 

Then the poor man went to the peasant, and in 
accordance with the judgment, asked for the wife, in 
order that she might remain with him until another 
child came. Then the peasant made a compromise with 
the poor man, gave him fifty roubles, a cow and a calf, 
and a mare with a foal, and four quarters of corn, and 
settled matters with him. 

Then the poor man went to the son whose father he 
had killed, and read the judgment out to him, according 
to which the son was to jump on him from the bridge, 
so as to kiU him. Then the son began to consider : 
" If I do jump, possibly I shall kill him, possibly I shall 
not ; anyhow I shall be done for." So he made terms 
with the poor man, gave him two hundred roubles and 
a horse, and five quarters of corn ; and lived in peace 
with him for ever. 


In a certain city, in a certain state, there once lived a 
merchant Nicholas with his wife. From the beginning 
they lived happily and were wealthy. Biit theix chief 
joy was in this : that tihe Lord had presented them with 
a son, and suich a ^beautifoil son too I SesBsiible and wise — 
and the only prayer whidh the naother and father ad- 
dressed to God and to his Jb.oly godfather St. Nicholas 
the Wonder- Worker, was that they should endow him 
with happiness and long Me. 

But, as old age crept on, they, for some reason, began 
to beojnffi poor ; and they became so poor tiat Nichdas, 
from a famous Taenchant, Tjecame a mere tradesman, 
and they only had one Uttle shop, and in the shop there 
was a chest <£ tobacco, a few nails, aaid a littfe inon. 
And either from the fact that they were growing poorer, 
or that they were becoming older, the modier and father 
of Ivan — ^for this was the name d£ NLchdlaB's son — ^had 
become feeble. 

One day the father ;caEed Ivan to him, an.d said;: 
" Now, our beloved son, we, it seems, shall soon die ; 
but <do you not weep for u&, but rather pray God. For 
we have already lived out our life ; and this is as it must 
be. But you bury us properly, for I have saved up 
money for you for this purpose. One third of the money 
you are to spend on the funeral, the second on the 
Requiem Mass, and with the third buy a shop and go 
into trade. And I will give you my blessing. Do not 
give any one false measure or cheat ; and if you shall 
grow rich, do not forget God, and to give alms to the 



■poor, as I did time a;gone. Now, my son, farewell. May 
■the Divine jnercy guard you and our guilty souls." 

Seven days passed, and Ivan buried his fatter, and his 
jnother soon afterwards, and began to trade. Soon he 
kegan to overknok the stock, .and in the corner .he found 
an image of the holy St. Nicholas the Wonder-Worker. 
rSo he ibuought the image into the dzbd'^ and he poured 
water into a vessel, washed it out, cleaned it in front of 
the image, and soon after went to market, bought a 
little lamp, and lighted it in front of the image. 

On the first Sunday he called the Pope in, had a Mass 
said for his parents, chanted a prayer to 'St. Nicholas the 
Wonder-Worker, and took the image into the shop, so 
that he might gaze at it constantly ; and thereafter, 
whenever he went into the shop, he used first of all to 
pray before the image, and afterwards he began to trade. 

And his trade went so well that it seemed as if the 
Lord Himself had been sending customers. Later on he 
■built a second shop, and every day he gave much money in 
ahns, and amongst others, to one old man who every 
day repaired to him. Ivan was very fond of him, and 
when a new clerk had to be engaged for the new shop, 
he said to this old man ,: " Grandfather, I do not know 
thy haJlowed name ; I do not know, father, how to call 
thee ; only do not be angry with me, for I have built a 
new shop, and I have no clerk. Come with me as my 
clerk, and 1 wiU obey you as I would have obeyed my 
own father. Do be 'kind and do not refuse." 

The old man at the beginning would very gladly have 
refused ; but afterwards they agreed, and began to Hve 
and dwell together, and Ivan, in aU things, obeyed the 
old man, and called him Bdtyushka. 

The old man carried on trade prosperously and profit- 
ably; and one day he said.: " Ivanushica, your trade 
dots mot altogether suit me ; for you trade in tobacco, 

1 Hvfct. 


and God loves not smoking, nor does He love tobac- 
conists. So buy some small goods, and you will have 
more purchasers, and will not incur sin." 

Ivan obeyed, and purchased many goods of all sorts, 
and set up shop anew. When all the goods were sold 
out, Ivan went into the counting-house, and he saw 
threefold his money wherever he looked. Ivan was 
extremely joyous at so big a profit, and he called in the 
Pope, and he recited the prayer to Nicholas the Wonder- 
Worker. And as to the old man, he was so happy, and 
he prayed so heartily to God. 

So they traded on for three years more, aild Ivan 
became so rich that the old man advised him to sell out 
and cross the seas with his goods. And Ivan obeyed the 
old man, bought a ship, loaded it with wares, and gave 
his house to the poor, setting one of them in as the 
master until he should come back himself. And they 
prayed to God, and he and the old man set sail. 

Soon they arrived : it may be near, it may be far — 
the tale is soon told, but the deed is not soon done — ^and 
suddenly robbers came upon them and plundered them 
of all their goods : and only left themselves alive and 
unscathed. It was a bitter shock to Ivan. But the old 
man quieted him, and said that all of this was for the 
best. So they sailed on for three days after this ; and 
on the third day they landed on an island, and they saw 
a great mass of bricks. The old man said to Ivan : " Get 
ready, Ivanushka, and load these bricks on your ship." 
Ivan said : " What shall I do with these bricks ? I would 
sooner die than do trade in them." But the old man 
answered and said : " Oh, Ivanushka, Ivanushka, you 
have had little experience ; and I tell you that any single 
one of these bricks is worth more than all the wares of 
which the robbers plundered you ! " And he threw 
one of the bricks on the ground, and under the clay 
there was a splendid jewel. 


So Ivan was glad, and began loading the ship with the 
bricks. And when they had loaded it to the full, the 
old man said : " Now, Ivanushka, you must also make 
some plain bricks in order that buccaneers may not steal 
the valuable ones." So they loaded plain bricks as well. 
But on their way the wind arose and they sailed farther, 
and the robbers fell on them again and began to search 
for the goods. So the old man said to them : " Have 
mercy, good folk ! Leave us alive ; for robbers some 
time ago took away all we had, and now we only carry 
bricks, such bricks as we made on the island." The 
pirates looked and were persuaded and sailed farther on, 
and so did Ivan and the old man, and very soon arrived 
at a haven and stayed there. 

In that kingdom there was a custom that all merchants 
who arrived should bring some of all their wares as a 
homage to the king. So the old man said to Ivan : 
" Ivanushka, pray to the Lord God, and go and buy a 
golden vessel and a fata, and to-morrow go and make 
your homage to the king." Ivan obeyed the old man, 
and the next day went to make his homage to the king. 
They told the king that a merchant had come to do 
allegiance, and the king sat on his throne and gave 
audience to Ivan. 

Ivan came up to the king, and in his hands there was 
a golden vessel covered by -A-fatd, and in the golden vessel 
there was a brick. So the king asked Ivan from what 
realm he came, and how his father and mother were 
named. And then he uncovered the/aia, and when he 
saw the brick he was very wroth, and said : " I suppose 
you think I have very few bricks, and you have come to 
trade in them in my kingdom ! " And then he rushed 
at Ivan. But Ivan turned aside and the brick fell to the 
ground and split in two. 

Then the king saw that he had behaved unseemly- 
wise, and began to ask Ivan for forgiveness. And he 


fortiiwitli bought the entire ship off Ivan. And when 
Ivan saw this, he said : " You may take all my goods, but 
I will not sell my vessel, for therein do I have an -old 
man who is my clerk, and we should not be able to live 
in the town." ""Oh," said the king, "'are there two of 
you ? " And the Iking, on hearing this, became very 
angry, and said : " I will not let you go, but I must have 
the ship." And Ivan went down on his knees and be- 
sought him that he would let them go. Then the king 
said : " If one of you will read some psalms for three 
nights to my daughter who is now in the church, you 
may keep the ship." For his daughter was a witch, and 
every night turned into a human being. 

Ivan returned to his ship, and he was sad and dis- 
heartened. He did not wish to go himself, for he did 
not wish to die ; and if he dismissed the old man, it was 
very hard to part. 

The old man said to Ivan : " Why, Ivanushka, why 
are you so miserable and hang your head ? " And Ivan 
told him all that had happened, and what the king had 
said. So the old man answered him : " Never mind, 
Ivanushka, cheer up ! Pray^to the Saviour, and lie down 
and sleep, and I wiU think out some means of getting 
out of the danger." 

Soon it began to grow dark, and the old man roused 
Ivan and said,: " Here are three tapers. As long as the 
first burns, pray to God ; when the second is burnt out, 
light the third, and then enter by the right-hand side of 
the Holy Gates by the altar-screen and say nothing ; only 
mutter a prayer all the time. Go., and God bless you." 

So Ivan landed, and the king's attendants took Ivan 
into the church and locked it, and he began to read the 
Psalter. One candle went out and then another, and 
he lighted the third, and lay down at the right-hand *ide 
of the Holy Gates. Then the flooring suddenly jumped 
up, and the witch began to search for Ivan : " Where 


are you ? I want to eat jovt." And she looked, and 
she leoked, and she could not find him, and then the 
cock crew, and she went once more into the graive. 
Then Ivan got up, covered up the grave, and began to 
read once more. 

In the morning they went there to collect his. bones- ; 
but there Ivan was, as large as life. And they went and 
told the king.. And he bade hinaj for the second time go 
aamdi read prayers. 

And Ivan went to the old man and told him what had 
ha^jpeiaed in the church by night. 

Next night the old man told Ivan tO' lie down on the 
le£tiT-hand side of the Holy Gates. And once more the 
waittch could not find him. 

On the third night the old man gave him- three tapers, 
aiffid- a ball of pitch ; and the pitch was rolled round with 
hair. He said : " To-night, Ivanushka, is the. k'St night. 
When you have burned out the last ta>per', lie down beside 
the grave, and when the witch rises out of it, go. and lie 
in the grave in her place, and do not let her in until she 
shall read out the prayers ' Maiden Mother of God, 
mjmee I ' and ' Our Father Which art in. Heaven.'' '^ 

Ivan went into the church and began to read the 
Psalter, and after lighting the third candle, lay down on 
the right-hand side of the grave;.. The wi±ch broke out 
of the coffin and passed over Ivan and began to. look for 
him' all over the church. When the time came for her to- 
lie down, there was Ivan in her place. " Ah ! there art 
thou ! "' the witch cried.. " For thrice twenty-four hours 
I have been hungry. Come out ; I waoit to eat you." 
And Ivan threw the ball covered with hair at her, and 
she nibbled and gnawed at it. And she at last said : 
""Let me go.! " " No/' said Ivan, "I will not let you 
go." " Let me go ! " the witch repeated. " Then do 
you," said Ivan, " recite the prayer ' Maiden Mother of, 
God, rejoice ! ' after me, and then I will let you go." 


And the witch read out the prayer and then said : " Let 
me go ! " And Ivan said : " Now read the Our Father, 
then I will let you go." And the witch read it out. 
Then Ivan came out and said : " Lie down." But the 
witch said : " Now I cannot lie down." Then she and 
Ivan began to pray. 

In the morning two men came in, and they not only 
saw Ivan, but also Olyona, the king's daughter — ^for this 
was the witch's name. And they went to the king, and 
recounted all they had beheld. 

And the king assembled all the spiritual hierarchy and 
went into the church. And he thought it must be that 
Ivan had turned into a wizard, but when he saw how 
things really were, he embraced Ivan and called him his 
son. And the witch said to Ivan: "Now, Ivan, the 
merchant's son, if you have been able to pray to God 
and to bring me to life again, now learn how to master 
me, and I wiU never depart one step from you." 

So Ivan went to the ship, and he told the old man all 
that had happened, and the old man said : " Ivanushka, 
fear nothing, take Olyona Korolyevna^ as your wife, 
only for the first three nights do not go to sleep until 
the cock has crowed three times, and then she will never 
more oppress you." 

There was no loitering at the king's court ; very soon 
all was got ready, and Ivan was affianced to Princess 
Olyona. And for two weeks he lived quite happily. 
Then he said to his father-in-law : " Good father, let 
me go home and have a Mass said for my father and 
mother, and once more see my home." And the king 
said : " My beloved son, Ivan, the merchant's son, I will 
not withstand your wish, but do return hither. You 
see yourself I am no longer young, and I have no heir. 
When you return I will give you my kingdom, and you 
will live happily and merrily." 

* KoroV king : hence princess. 


So they set out on their journey, and arrived at 
their own kingdom, to their native land. And Ivan 
took 01y6na with him. When they arrived at the 
island of the bricks, they loaded all the vessels, and 
there were many ships, and they excavated the entire 

One day the old man began to cut firewood, took 
them to the opposite side of the island and said : " Ivan- 
ushka, my well-doer, I must now speak with you." And 
he bade them come where the firewood was stacked. He 
lit the firewood ; and when it was in flame he took 
Olyona, threw her down, trod on one leg, and puUed her 
apart into two halves, taking hold of the other leg. Ivan 
did not know what to say ! And the old man put both 
halves on the fire, and out of the fire there then crept 
snakes, frogs, and all sorts of reptiles. Then he took 
the two parts out of the fire, rinsed them thoroughly in 
the sea, sprinkled them over with water, made the sign 
of the cross, and Olyona arose such a beauty as no tale 
can tell and no pen can write. Then he said : " Now, 
my well-doer, Ivanushka, you are to be a mighty king ; 
Ivan, the merchant's son, you are now rich and famous 
and happy, so see to it that you do not forget God and 
the poor. I shall see you no more." 

Ivan and Olyona hielt down and began to beseech 
him, but the old man said : " Beg no more of me, but 
rather thank God for sending me to you. I loved you 
and your father, Ivan, and you even more, because you 
kindly gave me alms ; and now you are rich and famous, 
do not forget to give alms to the poor." Then he 

Ivan and Olyona praised God, went back to the ships, 
and sailed farther on. 

When the poor saw that Ivan had arrived with untold 
wealth, they crowded to the shore and began to kiss 
Ivan's hands, his feet, and the hem of his garment ; 


and all' present were so joyous that the tears flowed) from 
their eyes. 

Ivan put up crosses on his parents' grave, elothed the 
poor, gave them^ his house, and returned to his f ather-inr 
law, and for many years governed his kingdom. And he 
lived so long that he saw in his old age his sons, hiis 
grandsons, and his great-gwandsons. And he ever 
prayed and bliessed God anwi IHHchoks. the Wondejc-' 
Worker for the mercy they had manifested to him. 

In that kimgdom^ where he was kimgy to. this, very day 
King Ivan andhiswife Olyonathe Fair are renasmbered..^ 

1 I have taken this stQTy as it stands. There are obvious gaps I have 
not ventured to fill up. 


Once a potter was journeying on his roaxi with his goods 
and dozed off. The Tsar Ivan Vasilgevich eame dnvi'ng 
by in his carriage and said, " Peace be ta you ! " 

The, potter loated lap and said, " I thank youi very 
much and wish you the same." 

" Have you been asleep ? " 

" Yes,, my Ibrdu Do. not fear a man who sings songs ; 
but fear a man whet sluiimbers ! " 

" YoUi are a; bold, fellow, potter : I have seen v«ry 
few sioffihi, ainid 1 like th-ean. Coachman, slower ! Potter, 
tell me,, have you beea Long at your trade i "' 

" Ever sim,ce: my youth, and I am now midxHe-aged."' 

" Can you< keep your cMldren with it ? " 

" Yes, r do no* sow, nor plough, nor mow, nor reap, 
and no frosts cail do me an,y harm." 

" Right, potter ; but there are still misfortunes left 
in the world." 

" Yes, I know three of them." 

" What are the three ? " 

" The first is an evil neighbour, the second an evil 
wife, and the third a weak undferstanding." 

" Yet now, tell me which is the. worst of these evils ? " 

" The evil neighbour can be escaped ;. so can the evil 
wife if one has children enough, but the weak- in.tellect 
can never be- got rid of." 

" Yes,, that is true, potter ;, you axe a sensible fellow. 
Listen ! You suit me: and I suit you. When there are 
geese flying over Russia, will you pluck a feaither out ©f 
tbuem or let them fly by in peace ? " 



" If it suit me, I should let them fly by as they should ; 
otherwise I should pluck them bald." 

" Potter, hold in your horse a little while I look at 
your stock." 

The potter stopped and displayed his goods. 

" Can you make any such for me ? " 

" How many ? " 

" Ten cart-loads." 

" How long will you require ? " 

" One month." 

" In a fortnight I can bring them into the town. I 
suit you and you suit me." 

" Thank you, potter." 

" Will you be in the city when I bring the goods ? " 

" Yes, I shall be there as the merchant's guest." 

So the Tsar drove into the city and ordered that at aU 
his feasts the plates should be neither of silver nor of 
pewter, nor of copper nor of wood, but only of clay. 
The potter carried out the Tsar's orders and brought his 
goods into the city. A boydr rode up to the potter 
and said to him : " God be with you, potter." 

" Thank you, your honour." 

" Sell me all your goods." 

" I cannot ; they are already sold." 

" What does that matter ? Take my money for it ; 
you will be doing no wrong, as long as you have received 
no orders for the work. What do you want ? " 

" I want every plate filled with money." 

" Listen, potter — that is too much." 

" Very well, then : one filled with money and two 
empty. Do you agree ? " 

So they agreed at that : " You suit me and I suit you." 

They filled up the plates and again emptied them, 
and they went on filling plates until there was not any 
money left : but there were ever so many plates over. 
The boydr saw he was getting the worst of the bargain 


and sent for more money from the house. So they piled 
the plates higher still, but all the money vanished, and 
still all the goods had not been used up. 

" What is to be done, potter ? Why are you so greedy ? " 

" There is nothing to be done." 

" I have a very high esteem for you, potter, but do 
you know what ? " 

" Do you carry me in to the courtyard, and I will 
give you the goods and the money back as well." 

So the boydr hesitated : he was very sorry to lose his 
money and for himself, but he could not help himself, 
and so they agreed. They unharnessed the horse, and 
the peasant sat in the carriage and the boydr walked on. 
The potter sang a song, and the hoydr drew it along, 
drew it along. " How far must I take you in front of 
that courtyard ? " 

The potter went on singing joyously and said, " In 
front of the house, at the very top of the carriage." 

When he reached the palace he stood up erect and 
sang, joyously. 

The Tsar heardhim singing and ran to the flight of steps, 
and recognised the potter. " Ha ! welcome, potter ! " 

" Thank you, your honour." 

" What are you travelling with ? " 

" With folly." 

" Now, you fine potter, you have known how to sell, 
your goods, hoydr, take off your gay costume and your 
boots ; and you, potter, take off your kaftdn and your 
bast shoes. Put the peasant's smock on, boydr, and you, 
potter, put on the hoydr' s robes. You have sold your 
goods very finely, potter ; you have done very little, and 
you have won much. But as for you, hoydr, you were 
not able to keep your rank. Now, potter, were there 
any geese flying over Russia ? Did you pluck a feather 
out of them, or did you leave them in peace ? " 

" No, I plucked them bald." 


In a distant country, a country far away, once there 
lived a Tsar and Tsaxitsa, who' had a son, Ivan Tsarevich, 
who was dumb from his birth. When- he was twelve 
years old he went tO' the stable to the groonr whom- he 
loved, who always told him stories. But this time he was 
not t© be told any. 

" Ivan Tsarevich," said the groom, " your mother wil- 
soon have a d^aughter, and you will have a sister. She 
wiU be a dreadful witch and will eat up yoinr father and 
your mother and aU their subjects. Go back home and 
ask your father to give you his best horse ; mount that 
and ride away and foHow your eyes if you would escape 

Ivan Tsarevich ran up to his father and spoke- for the 
first time in his life. The Tsar was so glad at this that he 
never asked what the Tsarevich wanted the horse- for, but 
ordered the very best of his Tabtin to be saddlted for him. 

Ivan Tsarevich mounted the horse and rode away, 
following his eyes. He rode far, to a very great distance, 
and he came to two old seamstresses, and asked them if 
they would not let him live with them-. 

"• We' shoul'd be very glad to accept you, Ivan Tsare" 
vich," they replied, " but we shall not five much longer. 
We- are breaking up this box and with our needltesj 
sewing it together again, aiad as soon as we have done- 
that Dteath will' come tO' us." 

Then Ivan Tsarevich wept and rode on farther. And 
he rode on, very very far, and came to Vertodub, And 
he begged htm, "^ Will you take me as your son ? " 

" I should be very glad to take you," Vertod'ub replied. 


" but, as soon as I have turned round all these oaks with 
all their roots, the hour will have come for me to die." 

Then the Tsarevich wept yet more, and he rode 
£art:her on, and he came to Vertogor, and he made him 
the same request.. 

" I should be very glad to take you, Ivan Tsarevich, 
but I too shall not live much longer," was the answer he 
received. " You see, I am placed here in order to turn 
these mountains round ; and when I have done with the 
last of them then I must die." 

Then Ivan Tsarevich wept bitter tears, and he rode 
yet farther. And at last he came to the Sister of the 
Sun. She gave him meat and drink and adopted him as 
a son. The Tsarevich had a fine time there. But still 
he was always dissatisfied, because he did not know what 
was going on at homse. And so he clomb a lofty moun- 
tain, looked out to his .own house, and saw that every- 
thing there had been eaten up, and only the walls were 
standing. Then he sighed and wept. 

And when he came down from the mountain, the 
Sister of the Sun met him and asked, " Ivan Tsarevich, 
why hast thou wept ? " 

'" It was the wind which was blowing something in 
my eye ! " And once again he began to weep. 

And he went a second time into the mountain, and 
saw that ^only the walls of his house remained standing — 
everything had been eaten up. And he wept and re- 
turned home. 

Again the Sister of the Sun met him : " Ivan Tsare- 
vich, why hast thou wept ? " 

" It was the wind which was blowing something in 
my eye ! " And the Sun was angry, and forbade the 
wind to blow. 

And he mounted the hill a third time, and this time 
he was forced to say why he was sad, and beg the Sister 
of the Sun for leave to go home to see what had been 


happening, like a doughty youth. So she gave him a 
brush and comb and two apples to take with him. And, 
however old a man might be, if he only ate one apple, he 
would be young once more. 

Ivan ran away, and he found Vertogor, who had only 
one mountain left. So Ivan Tsarevich took his brush, 
and threw it into the open field. And suddenly moun- 
tains grew up everywhere, and their summits and peaks 
pierced into the sHes, and there were so many of them 
that no man could count them. Vertogor was then very 
happy and set about work gaily. 

Ivan Tsarevich met Vertodiib once more, and there 
were only three oaks left. So he threw the comb into the 
field, and then there rustled out of the earth a thick oak 
forest, every tree thicker than the other. And Vertodiib 
was then very joyous and set to work gaily. 

And at last, after a journey long or short, Ivan Tsare- 
vich reached the old women, and he gave each of them 
an apple. They ate them, and they once more became 
young, and gave him a little handkerchief, which he need 
only shake, and a big lake would appear. 

When Ivan Tsarevich came home, his sister ran to 
him and caressed him. " Sit down, brother mine ; play 
on the harp whilst I go and prepare dinner." 

Ivan Tsarevich sat down and began to finger the strings 
when a mouselet crept out of the corner and spoke with 
a human voice : " Run away, Tsarevich, as fast as you 
can. Your sister is now whetting her teeth." 

Ivan Tsarevich then left the room, sat on his horse, 
and went all the way back to the Sun. The mouselet 
ran up and down on the strings of the harp, and the 
sister never noticed that the brother had gone away. 
When she had sharpened her teeth, she ran into the room, 
but there was not a single soul to be seen there, even the 
mouselet had crept back into its hole. And the witch 
became furious, gnashed her teeth and made ready to 


pursue Ivan Tsarevich. Ivan Tsarevich heard a noise 
behind him, looked, and saw his sister had almost caught 
him up, so he waved his handkerchief, and a deep lake 
rose behind him. Whilst the witch was swimming 
through the lake Ivan Tsarevich flew a vast way, and she 
was swifter than he, and again came near. 

Vertodub guessed Ivan was fleeing from his sister, and 
piled oaks on the way, whirled a vast mass of them in 
her path and she could not get through ; she had at 
first to clear the road. So she gnawed and gnawed away, 
and at last made herself a path. But Ivan Tsarevich in 
the meantime had gained ground. So she followed him 
farther, and she had almost caught him up. 

When Vertogor saw what was happening, he seized 
hold of the highest mountain, piled it up on the road 
and stuck another on top of it. And the witch was very 
furious, and began climbing up, and in the meantime 
Ivan Tsarevich got far and far away. But the witch 
soon got up and cried out : " This time you shall not 
escape me." 

He had got into the palace of the Sister of the Sun, 
and cried out, " Sun, Sun ! open your big windows." 
The Sun opened his window and Ivan Tsarevich leaped 
in on his horse. 

The witch asked him to give her her brother, but the 
Sun would not. Then the witch said, " Ivan Tsarevich 
must put himself on one balance and I will put myself 
on the other, and if I am the heavier I will eat him up ; 
and, if he is the heavier he shall lay me low." 

So they went and set up the scales. First Ivan Tsare- 
vich sat down on it, then the witch on the other side ; 
but as soon as ever she had put her foot into it the 
Tsarevich was hurled with such force into the house, 
that he flew right into the very bosom of the sky, into 
the chambers of the Sun, whilst the witch remained on 
the earth. 


hi a certain kingdom, in a certain state, there once lived 
Ivan Tsarevich, who had three sisters: one was called 
Marya Tsarevna, the second Olga Tsarevna, and the 
third Anna Tsarevna. Their mother and father had 
died : when they were dying they bade the son, " Who- 
ever come first as a suitor for your sisters' hands, let 
them take them ; do not keep them long with you." 
The Tsarevich buried his parents ; and, in his grief, 
went with his sisters to walk in a green garden. Then a 
dark cloud appeared in the sky, and a fearful clap of 
thunder was heard. " Let us go home, sisters," said 
Ivan Tsarevich. 

Soon they reached the palace : the thunder rattled 
and the ceiling fell down, and the ceiling divided into 
two. And a clear-eyed Hawk came into the room, 
struck the ground, and turned himself into a fair, 
doughty youth : " Hail, Ivan Tsarevich ! before, I 
came to you as a guest, now I am coming to ask for your 
sister's hand : I wish to marry Marya Tsarevna." 

" If you wish my sister, I will not say you nay : take 
her with God's -blessing." 

Marya Tsarevna agreed, and the Hawk married her 
and took her away to his own kingdom. 

Then day followed day and hour foUcoved hour. One 
whole year went by unheeded. Ivan Tsarevich stayed 
with liis sisters in the green garden. Then there came 
a cloud and there was thunder and lightaaiag. " Let us go 
home, sisters," said the Tsarevich. 

When they came to the palace there was a thunder- 



clap, and the roof fell in and the ceiling was cleft in two, 
and an Eagle flew in, struck the ground and turned him- 
self into a doughty youth, and said, " Hail, Ivan Tsare- 
vich ! formerly I came to you as a guest, now I come to 
you as a suitor," And he asked for the hand of Olga, 

And Ivan Tsarevich answered, " If Olga Tsarevna 
pleases you, she may go to you-^I wiU not withstand 
your will." 

Olga Tsarevna was willing, and married the Eagle : 
the Eagle laid hold of her and took her to his own 

One year further went by, and Ivan Tsarevich said to 
his youngest sister, " Let us go and have a walk in the 
green garden," and they went for a little walk. And a 
cloud came over the sky with thunder and lightning. 
" Let us turn back, sister, home ! " 

So they turned back home, and they had hardly sat 
down when the thunder clapped and the ceiling was 
divided into two, and a Crow flew in. And the Crow 
struck the ground and turned himself into a doughty 
youth. The former suitors were fair enough in them- 
selves, but he was fairer still. " Formerly I came to you 
as a guest, but now I come to you as a suitor : give me 
your sister Anna." 

" I wiU not withstand my sister's will ; if you are in 
love with her she may have you." 

And Anna Tsarevna went with the Crow, and he took 
her to his own kingdom. 

So Ivan Tsarevich was there alone, and for one. whole 
year he hved there without any sisters, and began to feel 
melancholy. " I will go," he said, " and seek my sisters." 
So he started out on the road. He went on and on and 
on. And there lay on the field an army of a great host 
conquered. And Ivan asked them : " If there be any 
man alive here, let him call ! Who slew this mighty 


And one man who was still alive replied : " All this 
mighty host was conquered by Marya Moryevna, the 
fair princess." 

And Ivan Tsarevich went on yet further, and he came 
upon white tents, and Marya Moryevna came to meet 
him, the fair queen. 

" Hail," she said, " Tsarevich ! where is God taking 
you ? Is it at your will or perforce ? " 

And Ivan Tsarevich answered her : " Doughty youths 
do not go perforce." 

" Well, if you have no quest to accomplish, come and 
stay in my tents." . 

And Ivan Tsarevich was glad of this, and he stayed 
two nights in the tents, fell in love with Marya Moryevna, 
and married her. 

Marya Moryevna took him with her to her own 
kingdom, and they lived together for some time ; and 
they thought of making ready for war ; and so she 
handed all of her possessions over to Ivan, and said: 
" Go everywhere, look at everything, only into this 
lumber-room you must not look." 

But he was impatient : as soon as Marya Moryevna's 
back was turned, he at once opened the lumber-room, 
opened the door and looked in, and there Koshchey the 
Deathless was hanging. 

Koshchey asked Ivan Tsarevich, " Have pity on me : 
give me something to eat. I have been tortured here 
for ten years. I have eaten nothing, I have drunken 
nothing, and my throat is all dried up." Ivan Tsarevich 
gave him a whole gallon of water : he drank it at a single 
gulp, and he still asked, " I am still thirsty : give me a 
gallon," and Ivan gave him a second gaUon, and yet a 
third. And when he had drunk the third, he recovered 
all his former strength, broke all his chains, shattered 
them aU, all the twelve chains. " Thank you, Ivan 
Tsarevich," Koshchey the Deathless said. " Now you 


will never again see Marya Moryevna any more ! " and 
with a fearful flash of lightning he flew into the country, 
gathered up Marya Moryevna on the road, the fair 
Queen, snatched her up and took her to himself. 

Ivan Tsarevich wept bitterly, got ready and started 
on his road : " Come what may, I wiU seek out Marya 
Moryevna." And he went one day, and he went another 
day, and on the dawning of the third day he saw a won- 
derful palace, and in front of the palace there was an 
oak, and on the oak there sat a clear-eyed hawk. 

And the Hawk flew down from the oak, struck the 
ground, turned into a doughty youth, and cried out, 
" O my beloved brother : how is the Lord dealing with 
you ? " 

And Marya Tsarevna came out, went to meet Ivan 
Tsarevich, asked him how he was, and began to tell him 
all her own story. 

So the Tsarevich abode as their guest for three days, 
and then said, " I cannot stay with you any longer : I 
am going to seek my wife Marya Moryevna the fair 

" This will be a hard search for you," answered the 
Hawk. " At least leave a silver spoon here ; we can gaze 
on it and think of you." 

Ivan Tsarevich left his silver spoon with them, and 
set out on his road. 

So he went on one day and a second day, and at the 
dawning of the third day he saw a palace fairer than the 
first, and in front of the palace there was an oak, and an 
eagle sat on the oak : the Eagle flew down from the tree, 
struck the earth, turned into a doughty youth and cried : 
" Rise, Olga Tsarevna, our dear brother has arrived." 

Olga Tsarevna at once came to meet him, began kissing 
and welcoming him, asking how he was, and they told 
of all they had lived and done. 

Ivan Tsarevich stayed with them three little days, 


and then said, " I can no longer be your guest : I am 
going seeking my wife, Marya Moryevna the fair Prin- 

And the Eagle answered : " It will be an evil quest. 
Leave us your silver fori ; we will look at it and think 
of you." 

So he left his silver fork, and he went on the road. 

And a day went by and a second, and at the dawn of 
the third day he saw a palace fairer than the first two. 
And in front of the palace there was an oak, and on the 
oak there perched a crow. And the Crow flew down 
from the oak, struck the earth, turned into a doughty 
youth, and cried out, " Anna Tsarevna, come out as 
fast as you can : our brother has arrived." 

Then Anna Tsarevna came out, met him joyously, 
began to kiss and to welcome him, asking him how he was. 
And they spoke of all they had lived and done. 

After three days Ivan Tsarevich said, " I can stay no 
longer with you ; I am going to seek my wife, Marya 
Moryevna, the fair Queen." 

" This will be a hard search for you," the Crow said. 
"" At least leave us your silver snuff-box ; we can gaze 
on it and think of you." 

So Ivan Tsarevich left them his silver snuff-box, and 
set out on his road. 

Then a day went and another day, and on the third 
day he at last reached Marya Moryevna. When she saw 
her beloved through the window, she rushed out to him, 
flung herself at his neck, wept, and said, " Oh ! Ivan 
Tsarevich, why did you not obey me ? Why did you 
look into the lumber-room and let Koshchey the Death- 
less out ? " 

" Forgive me, Marya Moryevna ; let bygones be 
bygones : come away with me now, whilst Koshchey 
the Deathless is away : possibly he may not catch us up." 

So they went away. 


Now Koshchey was out hunting. Towards evening 
he returned home, and his horse stumbled. " Why, you 
sorry jade, are you stumbling, or is it some evil that you 
fear ? " 

And the horse answered : " Ivan Tsarevich has arrived, 
and has taken away Marya Moryevna." 

" Can one catch them up ? " 

" You can sow wheat; wait until it grows up, harvest 
it, thresh it, turn it into flour, make five stones of bread, 
eat the bread, and then set out on the hunt, and we 
shall succeed." 

Koshchey leapt on the horse, caught up Ivan Tsarevich. 
" Now," he said, " for the first time I will let you go for 
your doughtyhood, as you fed me with water ; for the 
second time I willlet you go ; for the third time, take 
care: I wiU tear you to morsels." And he took Marya 
Moryevna from him, took her away, and Ivan Tsarevich 
sat. on the stone and cried. 

And he cried and he cried, and again came back to 
Marya Moryevna. Koshchey the Deathless was not at 
home : " Let us start, Marya Moryevna." 

" Oh, Ivan Tsarevich, he will catch us up." 

" Well, let him ; still we shall have one or two hours 

So they started, and off they went. 

Koshchey the Deathless came back home, and his good 
horse stumbled under him. " Why, you sorry jade, 
are you stumbling, or is it some evil thing which you 
fear ? " 

And the horse answered, " Ivan Tsarevich has again 
arrived, and has taken Marya Moryevna away." 

" Can one catch them up ? " 

" It would be possible to sow barley and to wait until 
it grpws up, reap it, thresh it, to brew beer, drink it 
until you were drunk, sleep out your sleep and then 
to go on the hunt, and we should still succeed." 


Koshchey leaped on his horse, caught up Ivan Tsare- 
vich, and said, " I said you were not to see anything 
more of Marya Moryevna ! " and he took her away with 

So Ivan Tsarevich was again left alone, and he wept 
bitterly ; and once again he returned to Marya Mor- 
yevna, and this time too Koshchey was not at home. 
" Let us go, Marya Moryevna ! " 

" Oh, Ivan Tsarevich, he will catch us up and he will 
tear you to bits." 

" Let him tear me to bits ; I cannot Hve without you." 

So they got ready, and off they went. 

Koshchey the Deathless returned home, and under 
him his good horse stumbled. " Why do you stumble, 
you sorry jade, or is it some evil that you fear ? " 

" Ivan Tsarevich has arrived, and has taken Marya 
Moryevna with him." 

Koshchey leaped on his horse, caught up Ivan Tsare- 
vich, broke him up into tiny bits, put them into a tar 
cask, took this cask, locked it with iron bolts and threw 
it into the blue sea. And he took Marya Moryevna away 
with him. 

At the same time the brothers-in-law of Ivan Tsare- 
vich looked at their silver ornaments and found they 
had turned black. " Oh," they said, " evidently some 
disaster has befallen him ! " The Eagle rushed into the 
blue sea, dragged out the cask to the shore, and the Hawk 
flew for the Water of Life, and the Crow flew for the 
Water of Death. Then they all three met at a single 
spot and broke up the cask, took out the bits of Ivan 
Tsarevich, washed them, laid them together as was fit : 
then the Crow sprinkled him with the Water of Death, 
and the body grew together and was one ; and the Hawk 
sprinkled him with the Water of Life, and Ivan Tsarevich 
shivered, sat up and said, " Oh, what a long sleep I have 
had ! " 


" But your sleep would have been very much longer 
if we had not been there," answered the brothers-in-law. 
" Now you must come and be our guest ! " 

" No, brothers, I must go and seek Marya Moryevna." 

So he came to her and said, " Go and find out from 
Koshchey the Deathless where he got such a fine horse ! " 

Then Marya Moryevna looked out for a good oppor- 
tunity, and asked Koshchey the Deathless. 

Koshchey answered, " Beyond thrice-nine lands, in 
the thrice-tenth kingdom, beyond the river of fire, lives 
the Baba Yaga. She has a mare on which every day she 
rides round the whole of the world. She has many 
splendid mares. I was there for three days as a herd, 
and she would not let me have the mare ; but she gave 
me one of the foals." 

" How can one cross the river of fire ? " 

" I have a kerchief : if you shake it to the right three 
times a lofty bridge rises and the fires cannot overreach 

Marya Moryevna listened, told Ivan Tsarevich all 
about it, and he took the cloth away. Ivan Tsarevich 
crossed the river of fire and he reached the Baba Yaga : 
but journeying afar, neither eating nor drinking. A 
sea-bird came to meet him with her young. Ivan 
Tsarevich asked if he might eat one of her chicks. 

" Do not eat it," the sea-bird said ; " at some time 
I shall be of service to you, Ivan Tsarevich." 

Then he went farther, and he was in a wood, and he 
saw a bee-hive. " Perhaps," he said, " I may take a 
little honey." 

Then the queen-bee answered him, " Do not touch 
my honey, Ivan Tsarevich ; at some time or other I 
shall be of service to you." 

So he did not touch the honey, but went farther. 
Then he met a lioness with her whelps. " May I eat 
this lion-whelp ? I am so hungry ? " 


" Do not touch it, Ivan Tsarevich," the lioness said ; 
" at some time or other I shall be of service to you." 

" Very well ; it shall be as you will." 

So he went on hungry, and he went on and on and on, 
and at last he reached the house of the Baba Yaga. 
Round the house there were twelve poles, and on eleven 
of the poles there were the skulls of men : only one as 
yet was untenanted. 

" Hail, hdbushka ! " he said. 

" Hail, Ivan Tsarevich ! " she replied : " what have 
you come for ? By your own good wiU or for need ? " 

" I have come to earn of you a knightly horse." 

" Very well, Ivan Tsarevich : you are to serve me not 
one year, but only three days. If you can guard my 
mares, I will give you a knightly horse ; if you cannot, 
do not be angry, but your head must also lie on the last 
of the stakes." 

Ivan Tsarevich agreed, and Baba Yaga gave him drink 
and food and bade him set to work. As soon as ever he 
had driven the mares into the field, they all turned their 
tails and ran in the meadows so far that the Tsarevich 
could not trace them with his eyes : and thus they were 
all lost. Then he sat down and wept, and became 
melancholy, and sat down on a stone and went to sleep. 

The sun was already setting when the sea-bird flew to 
him, woke him up and said, " Arise, Ivan Tsarevich^ — 
all the mares have gone home." 

The Tsarevich got up, turned back home ; but Baba 
Yaga was angry with her mares. " Why have you all 
come home ? " 

" Why should we not come home ? the birds flew 
down from every quarter of the sky and almost clawed 
out our eyes." 

" Well, to-morrow do not stray in the meadows, but 
scatter into the dreamy forest." 

So Ivan Tsarevich passed that night ; and next day 


Baba Yaga said to him, "Look, Ivan Tsarevich, if you 
do not keep, the mares well, i£ you lose one, then yorar 
false head shall nod up and down on the stake." 

So then he drove all the mares to the field, and this 
time they turned their tails, and they ran into the 
dreamy woods. And once again the Tsarevich sat on 
the stone and wept and wept and went to sleep, and the 
sun began to rest on the woods when the lioness ran up 
and said, " Get up,' Ivan Tsarevich — all the mares have 
been collected." Then Ivan Tsarevich got up and went 

And Baba Yaga was angry that the mares had come 
home, and she called out to her mares, " Why have you 
all come home ? " 

And they answered, " How should we not come home ? 
— ^wild beasts from all the four quarters of the world 
assembled round us and almost tore us to bits." 

" Well, you go to-morrow into the blue sea." 

Gnce again Ivan passed the night there, and the next 
day Baba Yaga sent her mares to feed. " If you do not 
guard them, then your bold head shall hang on the pole." 

He drove the mares into the field, and they at once 
turned tail and vanished from his eyes and ran into the 
blue sea and stood up to their necks in the water. So 
Ivan Tsarevich sat on the stone, wept and went to sleep. 
And the sun was already setting on the woods when the 
bee flew up to him and said : " Get up, Ivan Tsarevich — 
all the mares have been gathered together. But, when 
you return home, do not appear before Baba Yaga ; go 
into the stable and hide behind the crib. There there is 
a mangy foal who will be rolling in the dung : steal him ; 
and, at the deep of midnight, leave the house." 

Ivan Tsarevich got up, went into the stable, aftd lay 
behind the crib. 

Baba Yaga made a tremendous stir and cried out to 
her mares : " Why did you come back ? " 


" How should we not come back ? — all the bees from 
every part of the world, visible and invisible, flew round 
us, and they stung us till our blood flowed." 

Baba Yaga went to sleep ; and that same night Ivan 
Tsarevich stole the mangy steed from its stall, mounted 
it and flew to the fiery river. He reached that river, 
waved the cloth three times to the right ; and, at once, 
from some strange source, a lofty, splendid bridge hung 
all the way over. The Tsarevich crossed the bridge, 
waved the cloth to the left twice, and all that was left 
of the bridge was a thin thread. 

In the morning Baba Yaga woke up and she could not 
see the mangy foal, so she hunted to the chase : with aU 
her strength she leapt into her iron mortar and she chased 
after with the pestle, and very soon she was on their 
track. When she came to the river of fire, she looked 
across and thought, " Ah ha ha ! a fine bridge ! " Then 
she went on to the bridge ; but as soon as she got on 
to the bridge it snapped, and Baba Yaga slipped into the 
river, and it was a savage death she had. 

Ivan Tsarevich fed his foal on the green, and a splendid 
horse grew out of him ; then the Tsarevich arrived at 
the palace of Marya Moryevna. She rushed out, fell 
upon his neck and said, " How has God blessed you ? " 
And he told her how it had gone with him. " I am 
frightened, Ivan Tsarevich ; if Koshchey catches us up 
you will again be torn to atoms." 

" No, he will not catch us up now ; I have a fine 
knightly horse which flies like a bird." So they sat on 
the horse and went. 

Koshchey the Deathless came back home, and his 
horse stumbled. " Oh, you sorry jade, why do you 
stumble, or is it that you fear some evil ? " 

" Ivan Tsarevich has arrived, and has taken away 
Marya Moryevna." 

" Can one catch them up ? " 


" God knows ; now Ivan Tsarevich has a knightly 
horse better than me." 

" No, I will not stand it," Koshchey the Deathless 
said. " We wiU up and after him ! " 

And, sooner or later, so soon he caught up Ivan 
Tsarevich, and he leapt to him and was going to cleave 
him with his curved sabre ; but then the steed of Ivan 
Tsarevich kicked Koshchey the Deathless with all his 
might, and clove in his head, and the Tsarevich struck 
him down with his club. Then the Tsarevich gathered 
together a mass of timber, set fire to it, burnt Koshchey 
the Deathless on the pile and scattered the dust to the 

Marya Moryevna then sat on Koshchey's steed, and 
Ivan Tsarevich on his own, and the two went and stayed 
as guests, first of all with the Crow, then with the Eagle, 
and lastly with the Hawk. Wherever they went they 
were joyously received. " Oh ! Ivan Tsarevich, I am 
so glad to see you ! We never expected to see you back. 
And your work has not been in vain ; such a beauty as 
Marya Moryevna might be sought for all over the world 
and you would not have found any other." 

So they were as guests and junketed well, and arrived 
into their own kingdom, reached it and began to live a 
life of joy enduring and to drink good mead. 


In a certain kingdom, in a certain state, once there 
lived a soldier who had served long and faithfully and 
knew all about the Tsar's service, the reviews, and 
always came up to parade looking clean and smart. 
The last year of his service came along, and, to his ill- 
luck, his superior officers, great and smaU, did not like 
him, and as a result he was soundly thrashed. This 
grieved the soldier, and he thought of deserting. So, 
with his wallet on his back and his gun on his shoulder, 
he began to bid farewell to his comrades, who asked him, 
" Where are you going ? Do you want to enter a 
battalion ? " 

" Do not ask me, my brothers ; just buckle my wallet 
firmly on, and do not think evil of me." 

Then the good youth set forth whither his eyes gazed. 
May be far, may be near, he went on and on, and arrived 
at another kingdom, saw the sentry-guard and asked 
" May I rest here ? " 

So the sentry-guard told the Corporal, the Corporal 
told the Officer, and the Officer told the General, and 
the General told the King himself. And the King 
ordered the soldier to be brought before him in order 
that he might see him with his own eyes. And the soldier 
appeared before him in his proper regimentals, with 
musket on his shoulder, as though he were rooted to the 

Then the King asked him, " Tell me on your faith 
and oath, whence are you and where are you going ? " 

" Your kingly Majesty, do not have me punished ! 



Bid the word be not spoken." And he told the whole 
story to the King, and asked to be admitted to the 

" Very well," said the King ; " come and serve me 

as sentry in my garden. All is not well in my garden: 

, somebody is breaking my best-loved trees, and you must 

endeavour to preserve them ; and, as to the reward for 

your labour, you shall not fare ill." 

So the sentry agreed and stood as sentry in the garden. 
For a year, for two years, he served on, and all went 
well. But in the third year, as he went out, he went to 
look in the garden, and saw that half of the best trees 
had been shattered. " My goodness ! " he thought to 
himself, " what a fearful misfortune ! If the King 
observes this he will instantly have me pinioned and 
hanged." So he took his gun in his hand, went to a 
tree, and began pondering very hard. Then he heard a 
crackling and a rumbling. So the good youth glimpsed 
down, and he saw a fearful, huge bird flying into the 
garden and overthrowing the trees. The soldier fired 
at the bird, but could not kill it ; and could only wing 

■ it on the right wing, and three feathers fell out of the 
wing, but the bird took to flight. After him the soldier 

■ dashed. The bird's wings were swift, and very speedily 
it flew into a pit and vanished from sight. But the soldier 
was not afraid and dived down after him into the pit, 
fell into the deep crevasse, fell down flat and lay for 
whole days unconscious. 

When he came to himself he got up and he looked, 
and he found himself in the subterranean world, where 
there was the same light a§ was here. " I suppose there 
are people here as well," he thought. So he went on and 
on, and saw a great city and a sentry-box in front of it, 
and in it a sentry. He began to. ask him questions, but 
never an answer, never a movement ! So he took him 
by the hand, and found that he was all stone. Then the 


^soldier went into the sentry-box : and there were many 
people, and they stood or sat, only they had all been 
turned to stone. He then set to wandering in the streets, 
and everywhere it was the same — not a single live soul 
to be seen ! Soon he came to a decorated, raised, clean- 
cut palace, marched in there, and looked. Rich rooms ; 
and food and drink of all. sorts were on the table ; and 
all was silent and empty. So the soldier ate and drank ; 
sat down to have a rest. Suddenly it seemed to him as 
though some one had come up the steps. So he shouldered 
his musket and went to the door. 

A fair Tsarevna was coming in with her maids of 
honour and attendants. The soldier bowed down to 
her, and she curtsied to him kindly. 

" Hail, soldier ! " she said. " By what ill doom have 
you fallen down here ? " 

So the soldier began to tell her. " I was engaged as 
sentry in the imperial garden, and a big bird came and 
flew round the trees and shattered them. I watched 
him, fired at him, and three feathers fell out of his 
wing. I began to chase after him, and arrived here." 

Then she answered, " That bird is my own sister : 
she does much evil of every kind and has set an ill doom 
on my kingdom, having turned all my people to stone. 
Listen ! here is a book for you. Stand here and read it 
from evening time until the hour when the cocks crow. 
Whatever suffering may come over you, do your duty ; 
read the book, keep it close to you that they may not 
tear it from you, otherwise you wiU not remain alive. 
If you can stay here for three nights I will come and 
marry you." 

" Very well," said the soldier. 

Soon it became dark, and he took the book and began 
reading it. Then there was a knocking and a thunder- 
ing, and an entire host appeared in the palace. AH his 
former superiors appeared in front of the soldier, scolded 


him and threatened him with the punishment of death. 
And they got their guns and were levelling them at him : 
but the soldier never looked at them, never let the book 
drop out of his hand, and simply went on reading. Then 
the cocks crowed, and it all vanished ! 

On the next night it was still more terrible, and on 
the third night worst of all. All the executioners came 
up with their saws, axes, clubs, and wanted to break his 
bones, put him on the rack, burn him at the stake, and 
were devising any means of getting the book out of his 
hand. It was fearful torture, and the soldier could 
hardly endure it. Then the cocks crowed, and the 
demons vanished ! 

At the same time the entire kingdom awoke, and in 
the streets and in the houses people bestirred themselves, 
and in the palace the Tsarevna and her generals and her 
suite appeared, and all began to thank the soldier, and 
they made him their king. 

On the next day he married the fair Princess, and lived 
with her in love and joy. 

So the soldier, the peasant's son, became a Tsar, and 
he still reigns. 

He is a very good king over his subjects, and is very 
generous to other soldiers. 


Once there was in the city of Filuyan^ a Tsar named 
Angey, who was very famxras. And, in course of time, 
it came upon him to stand in the church at the Divine 
Service at the reading of the sacred Gospel by the priest, 
when the priest was reading those verses in the Gospel 
in which it is said : He hath put down the mighty from 
their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek. And 
when the Tsar heard this he grew angry, and the Tsar 
spoke : " This writing is falsely written ; the word of 
the Gospel is untrue." And the Tsar said : " I am very 
rich and famous. How shall I be put down from my 
seat and the humble and meek be exalted ? " And then 
he was filled with fear. And the Tsar bade the priest 
be confined in a dungeon, and he bade that page be 
torn out of the Gospel Book. And the Tsar went to 
his palace and began to eat and drink and be merry. 

When the Tsar saw a deer in the fields, he went up 
and he took his young men with him, and he hunted him 
and almost capttired the deer ; and the deer was very 
beautiful. And the Tsar spoke to his champions : " Do 
ye stand here. I wiU go, and I alone wiU take the deer 
alive." And he hunted after him, and they swam across 
the stream. The Tsar tied his horse to an oak, and tied 
his garments around him, and swam naked across the 
stream. Then the deer became invisible, and an angel 
of God stood by the Tsar's horse in the image of Tsar 

^ A mythical city, very probably derived from BiXt], 



Angey and spoke to the youths. " The deer has swum 
across the^ stream." 

And he went with thje youths into the Tsar's city to 
his palace. 

But Tsar Angey went back for his horse, but he could 
neither find his steed nor his apparel, and he remained 
thpre naked and began to think. And Angey went up 
to his city, and he saw shepherds feeding oxen, and he 
asked them : " Ye lesser brothers, shepherds, where have 
ye seen my horse and my garments ? " And the shep- 
herds asked him : " Who art thou ? " He said to them : 
" I am Tsar Angey." And the shepherds spake : " Wicked 
boaster ! how darest thou call thyself the Tsar, for we 
have seen Tsar Angey, who has just ridden into his city 
with five youths ! " And they began to rebuke him and 
to, beat him with whips and scourges. And the Tsar 
began to weep and to sob. The shepherds drove him 
afar, and he went naked into his city. 

The trade folk of the city met him on his way and asked 
him :. " Man, why art thou naked ? " And he said to 
them : " Robbers have stolen my garments." And they 
gave him a poor and tattered dress. He took it and bowed 
down to them, and he went unto his city, and arrived 
in his town, and he asked a widow if he might stay there 
the night, and he questioned her, saying : " Say, my 
mistress, who is the Tsar here ? " And she replied to 
him. :. " Art thou not a man of our country ? "' And 
she said :. " Our Tsar is Tsar Angey." He asked : " For 
how many years has he been Tsar ? " And she said : 
" For years five and thirty." 

He then wrote a letter with his own hand to the 
Tsaritsa, that he had secret things and thoughts to 
speak of with her ; and he bade a woman take this letter 
to the queen. The Tsaritsa received the letter and had 
it read to her. He signed it as her husband. Tsar Angey. 
And a great fear fell upon her, and in her fear she began 


to speak : " How can this poor man name me his wife ? 
I must inform the Tsar and have him punished." And 
she bade him be beaten with whips mercilessly, without 
informing the Tsar. He was pitilessly beaten, and was 
scarcely left alive, and could hardly leave the town. He 
wept and sobbed, and remembered the words of the 
Gospel : He hath put down the mighty from their seat, 
and hath exalted the humble and meek. And he spoke to a 
pope of this, how he had profaned the Sacred Book, and 
had sent the priest into th? dark dungeon, and had gone 
a long, long way. 

And the Tsaritsa spoke to the angel who was taking the 
shape of the Tsar : " Thou, my dear lord, for one year 
hast not slept with me. How can I, then, be thine ? " 
And the Tsar spake to her : " I have made a covenant 
with God that for three years I will not sleep with thee 
nor share thy bed." And he left her and went into the 
Tsar's palace. 

Angey the Tsar arrived in an unknown town and 
engaged himself with a peasant to reap the harvest ; and 
he did not know how to do a peasant's work ; and the 
peasant discharged him, and he began to weep and sob, 
and went on his way from that city. And poor men 
met him on the road. He said to them : " WiU ye take 
me up with ye ? I am now a poor man, and do not know 
how to work, and I am ashamed to beg. What ye bid 
of me I will do. I will work for you." And they accepted 
him and gave him a burden to carry. And they went to 
lie at night, and they bade him heat the bath, carry 
water, and lay the bed. And Tsar Angey wept bitterly : 
" Woe to me ! What have I done ! I was wroth with 
the Sovereign, and He has deprived me of my kingdom 
and has brought me to ruin, and I have suflFered all this 
through the word of the Gospel." 

In the morning the poor men got up, and they arrived 
at his own city of Filuyan. And they reached the abode 


of the Tsar and began to beg for alms. At this time the 
Tsar was holding a mighty feast, and he bade the poor 
be summoned into the palace, bade them be fed suffi- 
ciently, and he bade the food of the poor men be taken 
into the Tsar's palace and put into a special room. 
And, when the Tsar's feast was over and the hoydrs^ and 
the guests had all separated, the angel who had taken 
the form of the Tsar Angey came to him in the palace 
where Angey the Tsar was dining with the beggars : 
" Dost thou know of a proud and mighty Tsar, how he 
profaned the word of the Gospel ? " And he began to 
teach him and to instruct him before all of the world, 
that he must not profane the word of the Gospel, and 
must show respect for the priests, and must not upraise 
himself, but must be kindly and inclined to the ways of 

1 Earls. 


Some girls were out at night for the evening, and 
arranged for an evening party. They went out to get 
some vodka. There were bones lying on the road. 
" Ho ! " they said, "bones, bones, come and be our 
guests : we are having an evening party." 

So they went back home, brought the vodka, and 
stepped in over the threshold. 

But the bones came and sat at the table just like men, 
and said to the maidens, " Now give us the brandy." 

So the girls gave them brandy. 

" Give us bread ! " 

So they gave them bread. 

They all sat down to eat, and one maiden dropped the 

Then the bones began lifting and stretching their legs 
under the bench. The girls tried to run away ; and the 
bones raced after them. The bones caught one girl up, 
and broke her across their knees. The other girls made 
their escape into the loft ; one girl hid behind the 

The bones ran up to the loft and asked : " What is 
there up there ? " 

" God's taper." 

" But down there ? " 

" The Devil's poker," she answered. 

So the bones hauled the second girl out and strangled 


" Father, I should like to marry ! Mother, I should 
like to marry, I should really," said the youth. 

" Well then, my child — marry." • 

So he married, and chose a lanky, black, squinting wife. 
She would have pleased Satan more than the clear^eyed , 
hawk, and it was no good frothing at anybody: he was 
the only person in the wrong. So he lived with .her and 
wrung his tears out with his fist. _ 

One day he went out where audiences were being 
given, stood there, and came home. 

" Wherever ,have you been saunterii^ ? " asked his 
squint-eyed 'Wife. " What have you seen :? " 

"Oh, they say that a new Tsar has come on the 
throne and has issued a new -Uhaz that wives are to com- 
mand their husbands ! " , 

- He only meant to joke, but she sprang up, pulled his 
whiskers and said, " Go to the stream and wash the 
shirts, take the broom and sweep the house, then go 
and :sit by the cradle and :rock the child, cook the supper 
and grill and bake the cakes." 

"Bbe man wanted to answer, "What are you talking 
about, woman ? That is 'not a man's wori." Then he 
looked at her, and he froze cold andihis tongue clave to 
his throat. 

So :he got the washing together, baked the cakes, 
:swept the cottage, and was no good for anything. 

One year went by, and a second, arid the good youth 
g©t rather weary of the yoke. But what on earth was 
:he to do ? He ihad married and he hadtied himself for 



all eternity, and, may-be, his entire life would go by in 
this misery. ! iFrom sheer wretchedness he contrived him- 
self this contrivance. In the forest there was a deep pit 
of which neither end nor bottom could be seen.- So he 
took and closed it up on the top with stakes, and strewed 
it over with straw, i Then he came up to his wife : " My 
dear wife, you don't know that there is a treasure in the 
forest. • It simply moans and groans with gold, and will 
not give itself up to me. It said, ' Send for your wife.' " 

" Ha, ha ! let us go : I will take it, and you say 
nothing about it." y 

So they went into the wood. " Sssh, woman, that is 
hollow ground out of which the treasure comes forth." 

" Oh, what a fool you are of a peasant, frightened of 
everything ! This is' iiow I run up to it." So she ran 
up to the straw and was precipitated into the pit. , 

" Now, off you go," said the peasant ; " I am now 
going to have a rest." 

So he had a rest for a month, and a second month, 
but he soon became melancholy without his squint-eyed 
wife. So he went into the forest, and he went into the 
field, and he went to the river, and he could only think 
of her. \ *' Possibly by now she has become quiet. Possibly 
I will take her out again.'i' So he took a withy, let it into 
the ground, and he listened : she was sitting l:here. ■ He 
drew it up, looked at it very near, looked very carefully, 
and in the basl^t there was a little devil sitting. At this 
the peasant was frightened, and almost let the cord fall 
out of his hands. ^ 

Then the little devil begged him and cried in his ear : _ 
" Do let me go, peasant. Your wife has been torturing 
and oppressing us. Tell me what to do' : I will be your 
faithful servant. ■.-I will this very instant rug into the 
boydrs' palace ; I will in an instant cook the grill ; by 
day and night I will knock and dnve away the boydrs.* 
You are to declare yourself a doctor to go and to call on - 


me. I will leap up on the spot and vanish. Now, go 
and dig, ; shovel up your money." ► . . 

So the peasant lef the devil leap out, shake himself,,, 
and vaaisL away. And from that day ever'ytliing' went' 
upside down in the boydrs' house, and they began looking 
for some doctor: the good youth dubbed himself a 
doctor, exorcised the devil, and received good pay. 
Soon the rumour went forth that in the prince's palace, 
in the lofty castle home, familiar spirits were appearing, 
"and never gave the princes rest...sThey sent for hunters 
in every part of the earth, and summoned them to as- 
semble doctors. They collected from all the kings : it 
was no good. ^ The familiar spirits still knocked and 

■* At last our doctor arrived, recognised his old acquain- 
tance, called for his little devil, and the little devil never 
thought of running away, and he would not leave the 
prince's palace. " Wait a httle, if this is the case," cried 
the doctor.: " Ho, my squint-eyed wife, just come up 
here!" Then the , little , devil could not stand it and 

.took to his heels out of the stove 

So the doctor received honour and praise, and earned 
a mine of money. !• But it is said, not untruly, that, even 
in Paradise, it is sad to live alone. . For the "good youth 
grew melancholy, and .he again went to seek his squint- 
eyed wife. V So he let down the basket right away into 
the pit. -There the woman was sitting, and he hauled 
her. to the top. , As soon as ever she came near she was 
breathing out fire and fury, gnashing her teeth and 
brandishing her fists. <The peasant's hands shook with 
fear, and the withy broke, and the squint-eyed woman 
clashed down as before into Hell.^ , 


Once, a long time ago, there lived a peasant. He alway;s 
observed St. Nicholas' day, but never, never, that of 
St. Elias ; he even worked on it. He used to say a Te 
Deum to Nicholas, and burn a taper, but never gave as 
much as a thought to the Prophet Elijah. 

One day Elijah and Nicholas were walking through 
this peasant's fields, going along and surveying; and 
the ears were so large, so full, that it warmed -one's heart 
to look at them ! 

" What a fine crop this will be ! " said Nicholas. 
" Yes, and he's a fine feUow, a good, brave peasant, 
pious ; he remembers God, and reveres the Holy Saints. 
Whatever he turns his hand to shall prosper." 

" Ha, let's have a look, brother," Elijah demurred. 
" Will there be so much over ? My lightnings shall 
glint and niy hail beat his field down ; then your peasant 
shall learn right, and regard my name-day." 

So they wrangled and argued, and at last agreed to go 
each his own way. 

St. Nicholas at once went off to the peasant, and said : 
" Go and sell the Father by St. EHas' all your standing 
corn : not a blade will be left ; it will be destroyed by 

Up the peasant dashed to the pope : " Oh, bdtyushka, 
won't you buy all my standing corn ? I'll sell you my 
whole field ; I am so short of money ; take it and give 
it me. Do buy it. Father ; I'll sell it cheap." 

They haggled and bargained, and at last agreed. The 
peasant took his cash and went home. 



Time went hy — ^not much, nor little ; a heavy -thun- 
drous cloud gathered, and, with frightsome lightning and 
hail, played on the peasant's field, cut through ^his crops 
like a scythe, and left not one blade to tell the tale. 

Next day, Elijah and Nicholas were faring through, 
and Elijah said : " Look how I've blasted the peasant's 
field ! " 

" The peasant's field ? No, my brother, no .; you've 
done your work thoroughly ; but it belongs to the pope 
by St. Elias, not to the' peasant." 

"What! That pope?" 

" Oh, yes ; about a week ago the peasant sold the 
field to the pope, and got hard cash for it ! And the 
pope is crying over the spilt money." 

" That won't do," said Elijah ; " I will grow the 
•meadow anew — 'twill be as good as it was." 

They had their talk out and went on their way. 

Up went St. Nicholas to the peasant once again. " Go 
and see the pope," he said, "and redeem your field; 
you won't lose by it." 

The ipeasant went to see the pope. " The Lord has 

grievously fitfilicted you, has smitten your field with hail, 

as smooth as a board. Let's share the cost o£ it ,; I will 

take back my field, and to relieve your loss will return 

-you half the money." 

Oh, how glad the pope was to consent ! They shook 
hands on it at once. 

Meanwhile, soinehow or other, the peasant's field 
xighted itself ; new shoots sprang up out of the old roots, 
the rain poured down on them, and nourished the earth,; 
wonderful fresh corn grew up, lofty and thick ; not a 
weed to be seen ; and the ears were so full that they 
bowed down to earth. The little sun warmed them, 
and the rye was warmed through, and waved like a 
field of gold. The peasant bound up sheaf after sheaf, 
built riok after rick ; carted it away and stacked it. 


Just then Elijah and St. Nicholas were once more 
passing by. Elijah looked blithely at the field and said : 
" Just look, Nicholas, what a blessing I have wrought ! 
This is nay reward to the pope, and he'll never forget it 
all his Hfe." 

" The pope ! No, brother ; it is a great boon, but then 
this is the peasant's field ; the pope hasn't a rod of it ! " 

" Wha-at ? " 

" It is true. After the meadow had been battered by 
hail, the peasant went up to the pope and bought it 
back at half price." 

" Stop a bit," said the Prophet Elijah, " I'll take all 
the good out of it ; out of all the peasant's ricks he shall 
not thresh more than six gallons at a time." 

" Here, this looks bad," thought St. Nicholas, and 
instantly went to see the peasant, and said : " See to it ; 
when you start threshing, never take more than a sheaf 
at a time on the threshing-floor." 

So the peasant set to threshing, and he got six gallons 
out of every sheaf ; all his granaries and lofts were full 
up with rye, and still there was much left over ; he built 
new storehouses, and filled them full to the flush. 

But one day Elijah the Prophet and St. Nicholas were 
passing by his courtyard, and Elijah glanced up and said : 
" Why has he built these new granaries ? How can he 
stock them all ? " 

" They're fuU up," St. Nicholas replied. 

" How did he get so much grain ? " 

" Oho ! Every sheaf yielded him six gallons, and, as 
soon as he started threshing, he brought them in sheaf 
by sheaf." 

" Oh, my brother Nicholas ! " Elijah guessed : " you 
must have told him what to do ! " 

" Well, I thought it all out, and was going to say . . ." 

" What are you after ? It's all your work. Never 
mind ; your peasant shall still have a reminder of me." 


" What wiU you do ? " 

" I shall not tell you this time ! " 

" Well, if evil is to be, it will come." 

Nicholas thought, and again went to the peasant, told 
him to buy two tapers, one big and one small, and gave 
him instructions. 

Next day Elijah the Prophet and St. Nicholas were 
out together in the guise o£ wanderers, and the peasant 
happened to meet them, carrying two waxen candles — 
one big one that cost a rouble, and a Uttle one that cost 
a copek. 

" Where are you going to, peasant I " St. Nicholas 

" Oh, I am going to light the rouble taper to the 
Prophet Elijah ; he has been so charitable to me. My 
field was ravaged by hail, so he intervened, bdtyushka, 
and gave me a crop twice as good." 

" For whom is the farthing dip ? " 

" Oh, for St. Nicholas ! " the peasant said, and pur- 
sued his way. 

" There you are, Elijah," said St. Nicholas : " you said 
I gave everything away to the peasant ; now you see 
what the truth is." 

And with this the dispute was ended : Elijah the 
Prophet was reconciled, and ceased persecuting the 
peasant with hail-storms, so that he lived a merry life 
from that day and honoured both name-days equally. 


We still say that we are clever, but our elders go and 
quarrel with us and say, " No, we had more sense than 
you." But the tale tells that, even when our grand- 
fathers had not learned their lessons and our great- 
great-great-great-grandfathers had not been born, in a 
certain iingdoto, in a certain land, once there lived an old 
man who had taught his three sons reading and writing. 

" Now, children," he said to them, " I shall die ; do 
you come and read prayers over my grave." 

" Very well, bdtyushka" the three sons answered. 
And the two elder brothers were indeed fine lads, and 
they grew up fine stout fellows ; but the youngest, 
Vanyushka,^ was under-sized, like a starved ducHing, 
and flat-chested. The old man, their father, died. 

Just about then a decree was issued by the Tsar that 
his daughter, Elena Tsarevna the Fair, had ordered a 
temple to be built for her, with twelve columns and 
twelve wreaths. She was going to sit in this temple on a 
lofty throne, and was going to wait for the bridegroom — 
the valiant man who should on a flying horse, at a single 
spring, kiss her on the lips. All the young folks were bust- 
ling about, washing themselves clean, combing their hair, 
and considering to whom should the great honour fall. 

" Brothers," Vanyiishka said, " our father is dead : 
who of us will go and read prayers on his grave ? " 

" Whoever wishes may go," answered the brothers. 

So the youngest went. But the elders got ready and 
mounted their horses, curled their hair, dyed their hair ; 
and all their kinsmen gathered round. 

' Diminutive of Ivin ; so too V^nya. 



Then the second night came :. " Brothers, I read the 
prayers last night," Vanya said ; " it's your turn ; which 
of you will go ? " 

" Any one who wishes may go ; don't interfere with us." 

They gave their hats a knowing tilt, whooped and 
ahcuted, flew about, and rushed and galloped abroad on 
the open fields ; and once again Vanya read the prayers ; 
and so, too, on the third night. But the brothers saddled 
their horses, combed out their whiskers, and got ready 
on the very morrow to try their prowess in front of the 
eyes of Elena the Fair. " What about our youngest 
brother ? " they thought. 

" Never mind about him ; he will only disgrace us 
and make people smile : let us go by ourselves." So 
they started. 

But Vanya also very much wanted to look at Princess 
Elena the Fair, and so he wept sorely, and he went to 
his father's grave, and his father heard him in his last 
home, and he came up to him, shook off the grey earth 
from his forehead, and said, " Do not grieve, Vanyushka ; 
I wiU aid you in your sorrow." Then the old man got up, 
whistled and halloed with a young man's voice, with a 
nightingale's trill ; and from some source or other a 
horse ran up, and the earth trembled, and from his 
nostrils and. from his ears flames issued forth. He 
breathed smoke, and stood in front of the old m,an as 
though he were rooted to the ground, and asked him, 
" What do you wish ? " 

Vanya mounted the horse by one ear, dismounted it 
by the other, and turned into so fine a youth as no tale 
can teU and no pen can write. He sat on the horse, 
bent over sideways ;. and he flew like your hawk over 
there,, straight to the palace of Elena the Fair Tsarevna. 
He stretched out, leaped on,, and he did not reach two 
of the crowns. He again made an effort, flew up^ 
jumped ; there was only one wreath left. He made 


one more effort, turned round once more, and, as fire 
leaps to the eyes, he instantly kissed and smacked Elena 
the Fair on the lips. " Who is it ! Who is it ! Catch 
him ! " For his very trace had vanished. Then he 
leapt back to his father's grave, and he let bis horse free 
into the open field ; and he then bowed down to the 
earth and asked advice of his father, and the old man 
gave him advice. Vanya went back home as though he 
had never been there ; and the brothers told him where 
they had been, what they had done and seen ; and he 
listened as though he had never heard of it before. 

There was another bout next day, and you could 
never see an end of the boydrs and the lords seated at 
the royal palace. The elder brothers started out, and 
the younger brother set out on foot secretly and quietly, 
just as though he had never kissed the Tsarevna, and he 
stopped in his distant corner. Elena Tsarevna was 
asking for her bridegroom ; Elena Tsarevna was wishing 
to show him to the whole world, desiring to give him 
the half of her kingdom ; but never a bridegroom 
appeared. They were looking for him in the midst of 
the boydrs, in the midst of the generals ; and they went 
to them all, but they could not find him. But Vanya 
looked on and smiled, and waited until his bride came 
to him. For he said, " I won her like a knight ; now she 
is to love me in my kaftan." 

So she got up, looked out of the open windows, 
glanced through them all, and then she saw and recog- 
nised her bridegroom, took him to herself, and soon the 
betrothal took place. And oh, what a fine young man 
he was — so sensible, brave, and so handsome ! He used 
to sit on his flying horse, undo his cap, put his arms 
a-kimbo ; and he seemed like a king, like the reigning 
king ; and you looked on, and you would never have 
imagined that at one time he could ever have been poor 


One day the daughter of a pope, without asking leave 
of her mother or her father, went for a walk into the 
wood, and utterly lost her way. Three years went by. 
Now, in this wood, in which her mother and father 
lived, there was a bold hunter. On every holy day he 
used to go hunting with his gun and his dog in the 
dreamy forest. 

One day he went into the wood, and the hairs of his 
dog bristled up. Then the hunter looked, and in front 
of him there was a stump on the wood path, and a 
Peasant stood on the stump and was cleaning his bast 
shoe. He went on with his shoe and was threatening 
the moon : " Light, give me light, clear moon." It was 
all very strange to the hunter. " Why does this 
Peasant," he thought, " live by himself ? He looks so 
young, but his hair is quite grey." 

He only thought this, but the Peasant guessed his 
thought and said, " Why am I grey ? Because I am 
the Devil's grandfather." 

Then the hunter understood that it was no mere 
peasant he saw, but the Wood Sprite, and he aimed 
at him with his gun, Bang ! and he hit him in the beUy. 
The Wood Sprite groaned, almost fell down from the 
stump, and that very instant jumped up again and 
crept into the thicket. After him ran the dog, and after 
the dog ran the hunter. So he went on and on and on, 
and he came up to the mountains, and on one of the 
mountains there was a fissure, and in the fissure stood a 
little hut. 



He entered the hut and looked, and there was the 
Wood Sprite rolling on a bench, absolutely out of breath, 
and beside him a maiden who was weeping bitterly. 
" Who will now give me food and drink ? " 

" Hail, fair maiden ! " said the hunter ; " tell me 
what you are and whence." 

" O doughty youth, I do not know myself : I have 
never seen the free world, and I have never known my 
father and mother." 

" Well, come quickly, I will take you back to Holy 
Russia." So he took her with him and led her out of 
the wood, and he went through the villages, inquiring 
of all of the places. Now, this maiden had been taken 
away by the Wood Sprite, and had lived with him for 
three whole years, and she had been enclosed and cut 
off, and was almost entirely naked, but she had no shame. 
Then they came to the village, and the huntsman began 
to ask whether anyone had lost a maiden. 

Then the pope said, " This is my daughter." And 
the pope's wife came: "Oh, my dear daughter, where 
have you been so long ? I never thought I should see 
you any more." 

Then the daughter looked at them, but was simply 
staggered and understood nothing, and only afterwards, 
little by little, came to herself. The pope and his wife 
gave her in marriage to the huntsman and rewarded 
him with all good things. 

Then they went to look for the izbd^ in which she had 
lived with the Wood Sprite. They wandered far into 
the woods, but could not find it. 

1 Hut. 


Once upon a time there was an old man and his old 
wife, and they had three sons. One was called Egorushko 
Zalyot ;^ the second was called Misha Kosolapy ;^ and 
the third was called Ivashko Zapechnik.^ The parents 
wanted to secure wives for them, and sent the eldest son 
out to seek a bride. He went for a long time, and saw 
many maidens, but he took none to wife, for he liked 
none well enough. On the way he met a three-headed 
dragon, and was very frightened. 

The dragon asked him, " Whither are you going, brave 
youth ? " 

" I am going a-wooing, but I cannot find a bride." 

" Come with me ; I will take you where you may find 

So they journeyed together till they came to a great 
heavy stone ; and the dragon said to him : " Lift that 
stone off, then you will find what you are seeking." 
And Egorushko endeavoured to lift the stone away, but 
he failed. Then the dragon said : " I have no bride 
for you here ! " 

So Egorushko went back home, and he told his father 
and mother all he had gone through. And the parents 
reflected for a long time. And they at last sent Misha 
Kosolapy on the same journey. He met the dragon after 
many days, and asked him to show him how he should 
get a bride. The dragon bade him go with him. And 
they came to the stone. Misha tried to lift it away, but 

1 A bold flier. ^ Bandy-legged. 

' Sitting behind the stove. 


in vain ; so he returned to his parents and told them 
all he had gone through. 

This time the parents were at an utter loss what they 
should do. Ivashio Zapechnik could not have any better 
luck ! But still Ivashko asked his parents' leave to go to 
the dragon, and after some reluctance he obtained it. 

Ivashko met the three-headed dragon, who asked him : 
" Where are you going, sturdy youth ? " 

" My brothers set out to marry, but they could find 
no brides. It is now my turn." 

" Come with me ; perhaps you may win a bride." 

So the dragon and Ivashko went up to the stone, and 
the dragon commanded him to lift the stone up, and 
Ivashko thrust the stone, and it flew up from its bed 
like a feather, as though it were not there, and revealed 
an aperture in the earth, with a rope ladder. 

" Ivashko," said the dragon, " go down that ladder ; 
and I will let you down into the three kingdoms, and in 
each of them you wiU see a fair maiden." 

So Ivashko went down, deeper and deeper, right down 
to the realm of copper, where he met a maiden who was 
very fair. 

" God greet you, strange guest ! Sit down where you 
may find room, and say whence you come." 

" Oh, fair maiden, you have given me nothing to eat 
and drink, and you ask me for my news ! " 

So the maiden gave him all manner of meat and drink 
and set them on the table. 

Ivashko had a drink, and then said : " I am seeking a 
bride ; will you marry me ? " 

" No, fair youth ! go farther on into the silver king- 
dom. There there is a maiden who is much fairer than 
I." Thereupon she gave him a silver ring. 

So the young boy thanked her for her kindness, said 
farewell ; and he went farther until he reached the 
silver kingdom. There he saw a maiden who was fairer 


yet tiaan the former, and he prayed and bowed down low. 
" Good day, fair maiden ! " 

" Good day, strange youth ! Sit down and tell me 
whence you come and what you seek." 

" But, fair maiden, you have given me nothing to eat 
or drink, and you ask my news ! " 

So the maiden put rich drink and food on the table, 
and Ivashko ate as much as he would. Then he told her 
that he was seeking a bride, and he asked her if she would 
be the bride. " Go yet farther into the golden realm ; 
there there- is a maiden who is yet much fairer than I ! " 
the girl said, and she ^ave him a golden ring. 

Ivashko said farewell, and went yet farther, went 
deeper stiU, into the golden realm. There he found a 
maiden who was much, very much fairer than the others, 
and there he said the right prayer, and he saluted the 

" Whither art thou going, fair youth ; and what do 
you seek ? " 

" Fair maiden, give me to eat and drink, and I will 
tell you my news." 

So she got him so fine a meal that no better meal on 
earth could ht wished, and she was so fair that no pen 
could write and no tale could tell. 
^ — Jvashko set to valorously, and then he told his tale. 
" I am seeking a bride ; if you will marry me, come with 
me ! " 

So the maiden consented, and she gave him a golden 
ball. Then they went on and on together, until they 
reached the silver realm, where they took the maiden 
who was there ; and they went on and on and on from 
there to the copper realm, and took this maiden with 
them as well. And then they came to the hole through 
which they were to climb out. The rope ladder stood 
all ready, and there there stood the elder brothers, who 
were looking for him, Ivashko tied the maiden out of 


the copper realm to the ladder, and the brothers Hfted 
her out, and they let the ladder down again. Then 
Ivashko laid hold of the maiden from the silver realm, 
and she was drawn up, and the ladder let down again. 
This time the maiden from the golden realm came, 
and was also drawn up. When the steps were let down 
again, Ivashko sat on them, and the brothers drew it up 
into the height. But when they saw that this time it 
was Ivashko Zapechnik who sat on it, they began to 
reflect : " If we let him out perhaps he will not give us 
any of the maidens." So they cut the steps down, and 
Ivashko fell down. He wept bitterly, but it was no good. 
He went down farther, and he then came across a tiny 
old man, who sat on a tree-stem and had a long white 
beard. Ivashko told him how it had been. 

The old man advised him once more to go on. " You 
will come to a little hut. Enter it and you will see a 
long man lying in it from one corner to the other. Ask 
him how you shall reach Russian land once more." 

So Ivashko went up to the hut, stepped in and said : 
" Strong giant, ^ spare me, and tell me how I shall get 
home again."' 

" Fi, fo, fum, you Russian bones ! " said IdoUshche, " I 
did not summon you, and stiU you have come. Go to 
the thrice-tenth sea, there there stands a hut on cocks' 
legs in which the Baba Yaga lives. She has an eagle who 
will carry you." 

So the young boy went on and on, a far way, to the 
hut, and he stepped in. 

The Baba Yaga cried out at once, " Fi, fo, fum, 
Russian bones, why have you come here ? " 

*' Oh, mother, the giant Idolishche sent me to ask 
you to lend me your mighty eagle to carry me to Russia." 

" Go," said Baba Yaga, " into the garden. At the 
gate there stands a watchman ; take his keys and pass 
^ Idolishche, i.e. Big idol. 


through seven doors, and when you open the last the 
eagle will flap his wings. Sit on his back if you are not 
afraid, and fly away. But take meat with you and give 
him to eat whenever he turns round." 

Ivashko did as he was bidden, sat on the eagle and flew 
away. The eagle flew on, flew on ; then he soon turned 
his head round, and Ivashko gave him a bite of flesh. 
Then the eagle flew on afar, and turned round again, 
and Ivashko fed him. And he fed him until he had 
nothing more left, and Russia was still far off. Then 
the eagle turned round, and as he had no flesh, he tore 
a fragment out^of Ivashko's withers and ate it up. But 
they had already reached the aperture. When Ivashko 
parted from the eagle, he spat a bit of flesh out and bade 
Ivashko lay it on him. And Ivashko did so, and his body 
healed ; and Ivashko went home, took the maiden from 
the golden realm from his brothers ; and they then lived 
happily, and may still be living if they are not dead. 

I was there and I drank beer ; I drank the beer, and 
it flowed up to my whiskers, but none of it reached my 


Once upon a time there were three brothers in a family ; 
the eldest was called the Ram, the second the Goat, and 
the third and youngest Chufil-Fflyushka.^ One day all 
three went into the forest, where the warder lived who 
was their real grandfather. With him Ram and Goat 
left their own brother Chufil-Filyushka, and went out 
into the forest to hunt. Filyushka had all his own will 
and way : his grandfather was old, and a great stupid ; 
and Filyushka was generous. He wanted to eat an 
apple. So he eluded his grandfather, got into the 
garden, and climbed up the apple-tree. 

All of a sudden, Heaven knows where from, who 
should come but the Yaga-Bura,^ with an iron mortar, 
and a pestle in her hand ; she leaped up to the apple- 
tree, and said, " How are you, Filyushka ? What have 
you come here for ? " 

" Oh, to pluck an apple ! " said Filyushka. 

" Well, then, dearie, have a bite of mine ! " 

" No, it's a rotten one," said Filyushka. 

" Well, here's another one ! " 

" No, it's all wormy ! " 

" Don't be saucy ; just come up and take one out of 
my hand." 

He stretched out his hand. Then Yaga-Bura gripped 
it tight, put him into the mortar, and made off, leaping 

^ Qe6<f>i\os. 

^ An equivalent to the Baba Yaga. 



over hills, and forests, and clefts ; and swiftly with the 
pestle driving the mortar. 

Then Filyushka remembered himself, and began to 
cry out, " Goat, Ram, come along quick. Yaga has 
carried me away beyond the high, steep hills, the dark, 
lone woods, the steppes, where the geese roam." 

The Ram and the Goat were just then resting. One 
was lying on the ground, and heard a noise of somebody 
shouting. So he told the other one : " Come and lie 
down, and listen ! " 

" Oh, it's our Filyushka crying." 
Off they went and ran and ran, and ran the Yaga- 
B-iira down, saved Filyushka and brought him home to 
his grandfather, who had nearly gone out of his mind 
with fright ! They told him to look after Filyushka 
better, and went out again. 

But Filyushka was a real boy, and the first chance he 
got, oii he was again to the apple-tree, clambered up. 
There was the Yaga-Bura again, and offering him an 

" No, you won't catch me this time, you old beast ! " 
said Fflyushka. 

" Don't be unkind — do just take an apple from me ; 
I'll throw it to you ! " 

" Right : throw it down." 

Then Yaga threw him down an apple : he stretched 
out his hand, and she clutched it and leapt over hills, 
and valleys, and dark forests, so fast that it seemed like 
a twinkling of an eye, got him into her home, washed 
him, went out and put him into the bunk. 

In the morning she made ready to go out, and ordered 
her daughter, " Listen ! heat the oven well, very hot, 
and roast me Chufil-Filyushka for supper." And she 
went out to seek further booty. 

The daughter went and got the oven thoroughly hot, 
took ouit and bound Filyushka, and put him on the 


shovel, and was just going to shove him into the oven, 
when he went and knocked his forehead with his feet. 

" That's not the way, Filyushka," said the daughter 
of the Yaga-Biira. ' 

" How then ? " he answered. " I don't understand." 

" Look here, just let go ; I'll show you." She went 
and lay down on the shovel in the right fashion. 

But, although Chufil-Filyushka was small, he was no 
fool ! He stuffed her at once into the oven, and shut 
the oven-door with a bang. 

About two or three hours later Filyushka smelt a 
smell of good roast meat, opened the door, and took out 
the daughter of the Yaga-Bura well-cooked ; buttered 
it over, put it into the frying-pan and covered it with 
a towel, and put it into the bunk ; then he cHmbed up 
to the roof-tree and took away the business-day pestle 
and mortar of the Yaga-Bura. 

About evening-time, the Yaga-Bura came in, went 
straight to the bunk and took the roast meat out ; ate 
it all up, collected all the bones, laid them out on the 
ground in rows, and began to roU on them. But some- 
how she could not find her daughter, and thought she 
had gone away to another cottage to weave. But sud- 
denly, whilst she was roUing, she said, " My dear daughter, 
do come to me and help me roll Fflyushka's little bones ! " 

Then Filyushka cried out from the rafters : " Roll 
away, mother, and stand on your daughter's little 
bones ! " 

" Are you there, you brigand ! You just wait, and 
I'll give it you ! " 

But little Chufil was not frightened, and when the 
Yaga-Biira, gnashing her teeth, stamping on the ground, 
had got up to the ceiling, he just got hold of the pestle 
and with all his might struck her on the forehead, and 
down she flopped. Then Filyushka climbed up on to 
the roof, and saw some geese fljdng, and called out to 


them, " Lend me your wings ; I want wings to carry 
me home." 

They lent him their wings, and he flew home. 

But they had long, long ago been praying for the 
repose o£ his soul at home, and how glad they were to 
see him turn up alive and sound ! So they changed the 
requiem for a merry festival, and hved out their lives, 
and lived on to receive more good yet ! 


Here begins the tale of a grey horse, a chestnut horse 
and of the wise fallow-bay. On the shore of the ocean, 
in the isle of Buyan, there stood a roasted ox, and behind 
pounded garlic : on the one side cut your meat, on the 
other dip deep and eat. 

Once upon a time there lived a merchant who had a 
son, and when the son grew up he was taken into the 
shop. Now, the first wife of the merchant died, and he 
married a second. 

After some months the merchant made ready to sail 
to foreign lands, and he loaded his ship with goods and 
he bade his son look after the house well and attend to 
business duly. 

Then the merchant's son asked, " Bdtyushka,^ when 
you go, get me my luck ! " 

" My beloved son," answered the old man, " where 
shall I find it ? » 

" It is not far to seek, my luck. When you get up to- 
morrow morning, stand at the gates and buy the first 
thing that meets you and give it to me." 

" Very well, my son." 

So next day the father got up very early, stood out- 
side the gates, and the first thing that met him was 
a peasant who was selling a sorry, scabby foal — mere 
dog's meat. So the merchant bargained for it and got 
it for a silver rouble, took the foal into the courtyard 
and put it into the stable. 

1 Father. 


Then the merchant's son asked him, " Well, hdt- 
yushka, what have you found as my luck ? " 

" I went out to find it, and it turned into a very poor 

" Well, so it really had to be : whatever luck the 
Lord has given us we must use." 

Then the father set sail with his goods into foreign 
lands, and the son sat on the counter and engaged in 
trade. He grew into the habit, whether he were going 
into the shop or returning home, always to go and 
stand in front of his f oal.- 

Now, his stepmother did not love her stepson, and 
looked out for fortune-tellers to learn how to get rid 
of him. At last she found an old wise woman, who 
gave her a poison and bade her put it under the threshold 
just when her stepson was coming in. As he came back 
from the shop, the merchant's son went into the stable 
and saw that his foal was standing in tears, and so he 
stroked him and asked, " Why, my good horse, do you 
weep ? Why your counsel do you keep ? " 

Then the foal answered, " Oh, Ivan the merchant's 
son, my beloved master, why should I not weep ? Your 
stepmother is trying to ruin you. You have a dog : 
when you go home let it go in front of you, and you will 
see what will come to it." 

So the merchant's son listened, and as soon as ever 
the dog crossed the threshold it was torn into small 

Ivan the merchant's son never let his stepmother 
know that he saw through her spite, and set out next day 
to the shop, whilst the stepmother went to see the 
soothsayer. So the old woman got a second poison, and 
bade her put it into the trough. In the evening, as he 
went home, the merchant's son went into the stable ; 
and once more the foal was standing on tip-toes and in 
tears ; and he struck him on the haunches and said, 


" Why, my good horse, do you weep ? Why your 
counsel do you keep ? " 

Then the foal answered, " Why should I not weep, 
my master, Ivan the merchant's son ? I hear a very 
great misfortune — ^that your stepmother wishes to ruin 
you. Look when you go into the room and sit down 
at the table : your mother will bring you a draught in 
the glass. Do you not drink it, but pour it out of the 
window : you will yourself see what will happen out- 

Ivan the merchant's son did as he was bidden and as 
soon as ever he had thrown the draught out of the 
window it began to rend the earth ; and again he never 
said a single word to his stepmother ; so she still thought 
that he was in the dark. 

On the third day he went to the shop, and the step- 
mother again went to the soothsayer. The old woman 
gave her an enchanted shirt. In the evening, as he was 
going out of the shop, the merchant's son went up to 
the foal, and he saw that there stood his good horse on 
tip-toes and in tears. So he struck him by the bridle 
and said, " Why do you weep, my good horse ? Why 
your counsel do you. keep ? " 

Then the foal answered him, " Why should I not 
weep ? Do I not know that your stepmother is wishing 
to destroy you ? Listen to what I say. When you go 
home your stepmother wiU send you to the bath, and 
she will send the boy to you with a shirt. Do not put 
on the shirt yourself, but put it on the boy, and you will 
see yourself what will come of it." 

So the merchant's son went up to his attic, and his 
stepmother came and said to him, " Would you not hke 
to have a steam bath ? The bath is now ready." 

" Very well," said Ivan, and he went into the bath, 
and very soon after the boy brought him a shirt. As 
soon as ever the merchant's son put it on the boy he that 


very instant closed his eyes and fell on the floor, as though 
he were dead. And when he took the shirt off him 
and cast it into the stove, the boy revived, but the stove 
was split into small pieces. 

The stepmother saw that she was doing no good, so 
she again went to the old soothsayer and asked and 
besought her how she should destroy her stepson. The 
old woman answered, " As long as the horse is aKve 
nothing can be brought about. But you pretend to be 
ill, and when your husband comes back tell him, ' I saw 
in my sleep that the throat of our foal must be cut and 
the liver extracted, and I must be rubbed with the liver ; 
then my disease will pass away.' " 

Some time after the merchant came back, and the 
son went out to meet him. 

" Hail, my son ! " said the father. " Is all well with 
you at home ? " 

" All is well, only mother is ill," he answered. 

So the merchant unloaded his wares and went home, 
and he found his wife lying in the bedclothes groaning, 
saying, " I can only recover if you will fulfil my dream." 

So the merchant agreed at once, summoned his son 
and said, " Now, my son, I want to cut the throat of 
your horse : your mother is iU, and I must cure her." 

So Ivan the merchant's son wept bitterly and said, 
" Oh, father, you wish to take away from me my last 
luck ! " Then he went into the stable. 

The foal saw him and said, " My beloved master, I 
have saved you from three deaths — do you now save 
me from one. Ask your father that you may go out on 
my back for the last time to fare in the open fields with 
your companions." 

So the son asked his father for leave to go into the 
open field for the last time on the horse, and the father 
agreed. Ivan the merchant's son mounted his horse, 
leapt into the open field, and went and diverted himself 


with Ms friends and companions. Then he sent his 
father a letter in this wise : " Do you cure my step- 
mother with a twelve-tongued whip — ^this is the best 
means of curing her illness." He sent this letter with 
one of his good companions, and himself went into 
foreign lands. 

The merchant read the letter, and began curing 
his wife with a twelve-tongued whip : and she very soon 

The merchant's son went out into the open field, into 
the wide plains, and he saw horned cattle grazing in 
front of him. 

So the good horse said, " Ivan the merchant's son, let 
me go free at will, and do you pull three little hairs out 
of my tail : whenever I can be of service to you burn a 
single hair, and I shall appear at once in front of you, like 
a leaf in front of the grass. But you, good youth, go to 
the herd, buy a bull and cut its throat ; dress yourself in 
the bull's hide, put a bladder on your head, and wherever 
you go, whatever you are asked about, answer only this 
one word, ' Idonotknow.' " 

Ivan the merchant's son let his horse go free, dressed 
himself in the bull's hide, put a bladder on his head, 
and went beyond the seas. On the blue sea there was 
a ship a-sailing. The ship's crew saw this marvel — an 
animal which was not an animal, a man that was not a 
man, with a bladder on his head and with fur aU round 
him- So they sailed up to the shore in a light boat and 
began to ask him and to inquire of him. Ivan the mer- 
chant's son only returned one answer, " Idonotknow." 

" If it be so, then your name must be ' Donotknow.' " 
Then the ship's crew took him, carried him on board 
the boat, and they sailed to their King. 

May-be long, may-be short, they at last reached a 
capital city, went to the King with gifts, and informed 
him of Donotknow. So the King bade the portent be 


presented before his eyes. So they brought Donotknow 
into the palace, and the people came up from aU parts, 
seen and unseeuj to gaze on him. 

Then the King began to ask him, " What sort of a 
man are you ? " 

" Idonotknow." 

" From what lands have you come ? " 

" Idonotknow-" 

" From what race and from what place ? " 

" Idonotknow." 

Then the King put Donotknow into the garden as a 
scarecrow, to frighten the birds from the apple trees, 
and he bade him be fed from his royal kitchen. 

Now this king had three daughters : the elder ones 
were beautiful, but the younger fairer still. Very soon 
the son of the King of the Arabs began asking for the 
hand of the youngest daughter, and he wrote to the 
King with threats such as this, " If you do not give her 
to me of your good will, I will take her by force." 

This did not suit the King at all, so he answered the 
Arab prince in this wise, " Do you begin the war, and 
it shall go as God shall will." 

So the Prince assembled a countless multitude and laid 

Donotknow shook off his oxhide, took off his bladder, 
went into the open fields, burnt one of the hairs, and 
cried out in a grim voice with a knightly whistle. From 
some source or other a wondrous horse appeared in 
front of him, and the steed galloped up, and the earth 
trembled. " Hail, doughty youth^ why do you want 
me so ispeedily ? " 

" Go and prepare for war ! " 

So Donotknow sat on his good horse, and the horse 
adied him, " Where shall I carry you — aloft, under the 
trees, or over the standing woods ? " 

" Carry me over the standing woods." 


So the horse raised himself from the earth and flew 
over the hostile host. Then DonotknoVv leapt upon the 
enemies, seized a warlike sword from one of them, tore 
a golden helmet from another of them, and put them on 
himself ; covered his face with the visor, and set to 
slaying the Arab host. Wherever he turned, heads flew : 
it was like mowing hay. The King and the Princess 
looked on in amazement from the city wall : " What 
a mighty hero it must be ! Whence has he come ? Is 
it Egori the Brave who has come to help us ? " 

But they never imagined that it was Donotknow 
whom the King had set in the garden as a scarecrow. 
Donotknow slew many of that host, and even more than 
he slew his horse trampled down, and he left only the 
Arab Prince aUve and ten men as a suite to see him home. 
After this great combat he rode back to the town wall 
and said, " Your kingly Majesty, has my service pleased 
you ? " Then the King thanked him and asked him in 
as a guest. But Donotknow would not come. He leapt 
into the open field, sent away his good horse, turned 
back home, put on the bladder and the bull's hide, and 
began to walk about in the garden, as before, just like a 

Some time went by, not too much, not too little, and 
the Arab Prince again wrote to the King, " If you do 
not give me your youngest daughter's hand I will burn 
up all your kingdom and will take her prisoner." 

This also did not please the King, and so he wrote in 
answer that he would await him with his host. Once 
again the Arab Prince collected a countless host, larger 
than before, and he besieged the King from all sides, 
having three mighty knights standing in front. 

Donotknow learned of this, shook off the bull's hide, 
took off the bladder, summoned his good horse, and leapt 
to the field. One knight came to meet him. They met 
in combat, greeted each other and set at each other with 


their lances. The knight struck Donotknow so doughtily 
that he could hardly hold on by one stirrup. Then he 
got up, flew like a youth, struck off the knight's head, 
seized him, and threw him over, saying, " This is how 
all of your heads shall fly." Then another knight came 
out, and it happened likewise with him ; and a third 
came, and Donotknow fought with him for one whole 
hour. The knight cut his hand and drew blood, but 
Donotknow cut off his head and threw it with the rest. 
Then all of the Arab host trembled and turned back. Just 
then the King, with the Princesses, was standing on the 
town wall ; and the youngest Princess saw that blood was 
flowing from the valiant champion's hand, took a ker- 
chief off her neck and bound up the wound herself ; 
and the King summoned him as a guest. " I will come 
one day," said Donotknow, " but not this time." So 
he leapt into the open field, dismissed his horse, dressed 
himself in his oxhide, put the bladder on his head, and 
began walking up and down the garden like a scarecrov/'. 

Some time went by, not much, not little, and the 
King gave his two elder daughters away to famous 
Tsarevichi. He was making ready for a great celebra- 
tion, and the guests came to walk in the garden ; and 
they saw Donotknow and asked, " What sort of a monster 
is this ? " 

So the King said, " This is Donotknow : I am using 
him as a scarecrow : he keeps the birds off my apple 

But the youngest daughter looked at Donotknow's 
hand and observed her kerchief on it, blushed and never 
said a word. From that time she began to walk into the 
garden and to gaze on Donotknow, and became thought- 
ful, never giving heed to the festivals and to the merri- 

" Where are you always going, my daughter ? " asked 
her father. 


" Oh, father, I have lived so many years with you, I 
have so often walked in the garden, and I have never seen 
such a delightful bird as I saw there just now ! " 

Then she began to ask her father to give her his 
blessing and to wed her to Donotknow. And for all 
the father might do to convince her, she insisted. " If 
you will not give me to him, I wiU remain unmarried all 
my life and wiU seek no other man." So the father 
agreed and he betrothed them. 

Soon afterwards the Arab Prince wrote to him for 
the third time and asked for the hand of his youngest 
daughter. " If you will not consent, I will consume all 
of your kingdom with fire, and I wiU take her by main 

Then the King answered, " My daughter is already 
promised : if you wish, come yourself and you will see. 
So the Prince came, and when he saw what a monster 
was betrothed to the fair Princess he thought he would 
slay Donotknow, and he summoned him to mortal 

Donotknow shook off his oxhide, took the bladder 
from his head, summoned his good horse and rode out, 
so fair a youth as no tale can tell and no pen can write. 

They met in the open field, in the wide plains, and the 
list lasted long. Ivan the merchant's son Hlled the Arab 
Prince. Then at last the King recognised that Donot- 
know was not a monster but a splendid and handsome 
knight, and he made him his heir. Ivan the merchant's 
son lived on in his kingdom for good and lived aU for 
happiness, took his own father to stay with him, but con- 
signed his stepmother to punishment. 


Once a Tsar lived with his Tsaritsa beyond thrice-nine 
lands in the thrice-tenth kingdom. He liked to go 
hunting and shooting the wild beasts. One day the 
Tsar went out hunting, and saw a young eagle sitting 
on an oak ; and he was just going to shoot him down, 
when the eagle begged him, " Do not shoot me. Tsar 
my master, rather take me to yourself ; and at some 
time or other I shall be of service to you." And the 
Tsar thought and thought, and he said, " How can you 
be of any service to me ? " And again he wanted to 
shoot him. And the eagle said to him a second time, 
" Do not shoot. Tsar my master, rather take me to 
yourself ; and some day I shall be of service to you." 
And the Tsar thought and thought, and again he could 
not imagine whatever service the eagle would be to 
him, and he still wanted to shoot him. So for the third 
time the eagle spoke to him, " Do not shoot me, Tsar 
my master, rather take me to yourself, and feed me for 
thjree years ; and at some time I shall be of service to you." 

So the Tsar was molUfied, and took the eagle to himself, 
and he fed him one year and another year, and the eagle 
ate up so much, ate up all the cattle ; and the Tsar 
had neither a sheep nor a cow left. 

Then the eagle said to him, " Let me go free." And 
the eagle tried his wings, but no, he could not fly ; and 
he asked him, " Now, Tsar my master, you have fed 
me for two years, even as you said ; now feed me one 
year more. Only go on and feed me, and you will not 

243 ' 


So the Tsar did this. 

" Go and hire cattle and feed me ; you will not lose." 

So the Tsar did this. From all countries round he 
went and hired cattle, and every one helped him to 
feed the eagle. And afterwards he let him go free at 
his own will. 

Then the eagle rose higher and higher, and he flew 
and flew, and then he came down to earth and said, 
" Now, Tsar my master, come and sit on me : we will 
fly together." 

So the Tsar sat on the eagle and they flew on and on. 
Maybe much time went by, maybe little, but they at 
last flew to the border of the blue sea. Then the eagle 
shook the Tsar off himsel:^, and he fell into the sea, and 
he was wetted up to his knees, only the eagle did not 
let him drown, but supported him on his wing, and 
asked, " Why, Tsar my lord, why are you frightened ? " 

" I was frightened," said the Tsar, " lest I should be 

And so once more they flew on, until they came to 
another sea. And the eagle shook the Tsar off into the 
middle of the sea, and the Tsar was wetted up to his 
waist, but the eagle supported him by his wing and 
asked him, " Why, Tsar my master, why are you 
frightened ? " 

" I was frightened," said the Tsar, " and I was 
thinking, it may be you are never going to drag me 

And again they flew on, and they arrived at the third 
sea, and the eagle threw the Tsar into the great depths, 
and he was immersed in the water up to his very neck. 
Again, the third time the eagle held him by the wing 
and asked him, " Why, Tsar my master, why are you 
frightened ? " 

" I was," said the Tsar, " I was thinking if only you 
would rescue me ! " 


" Now, Tsar my master, you have learned the fear 
of death. All this shall be JEor you in the past, and shall 
be an old tale. You may recollect how I was sitting on 
the oak and you wished to kill me. Three times you 
took up your gun to shoot me, but I asked you to spare 
me ; and I was thinking in my mind, may you not destroy 
me but have pity and take me to yourself ! " 

So he then flew across thrice-nine lands, for a very 
long flight. And the eagle said, " Come and see. Tsar 
my master, what is over us and what is under us." 

And the Tsar looked : " Over us," he said, " is the 
sky, and under us the earth." 

" Look once more : what is there on -the left and 
right-hand sides ? " 

" On the right-hand side there is an open field and 
on the left-hand side there is a house." 

" We will fly there," said the eagle ; " there my 
youngest sister lives." 

So they flew straight to the courtyard, and the sister 
came to meet them and received her brother, seated 
him on an oaken table ; but she would not look on the 
Tsar — she left him outside in the courtyard and she 
let the fleet dogs out to feed on him. 

But the eagle was very angry,. and he leaped up from 
the table, laid hold on the Tsar and flew, yet farther. 
So they flew and flew, and the eagle said to the Tsar, 
" Look, what is there behind us ? " 

So the Tsar turned round and looked, and said, 
" Behind us there is a beauteous house." 

Then the eagle said to him, " It is the house of my 
youngest sister that glitters : she would not receive you, 
but gave you for food to the fleet hounds." 

So they flew and flew on, and the eagle asked him 
again, " Look, Tsar my master, what is there over us, 
and what under us ? " 

" Over us the sky and under us the earth." 


" Look, what is there on the right-hand, and what is 
there on the left ? " 

" On the right-hand side there is the open field, and 
on the left-hand side there stands a house." 

" There my younger sister lives ; we will fly there 
and be her guests." 

So they came down to the open courtyard, and the 
younger sister came and received her brother, and she 
seated him on an oaken stool, but she left the Tsar in 
the courtyard, and she released the fleet hounds on him. 

And the eagle was angry, leaped up from the table, 
laid hold on the Tsar and flew with him yet farther ; 
and they flew on and on, and the eagle said to the Tsar, 
" Look, what is there behind us ? " 

" Behind us there is a beauteous house," 

" It is the house of my younger sister that glitters," 
said the eagle. " Now we will fly where my mother and 
eldest sister live." 

So they flew thither, and the mother and eldest 
sister were ever so glad to see them, and they received 
the Tsar with honour and affection. 

" Now, Tsar my master," said the eagle, " come and 
rest with us, and afterwards I will give you a ship, and 
I will repay you all I ate up whilst I was with you ; and 
go home with God's aid." So he gave the Tsar a ship 
and two coffers, one was red and the other green. And 
he said, " Take heed, do not open the coffers until you 
reach home : open the red coffer in the back courtyard 
and the green coffer in the front courtyard." 

So the Tsar took the two coffers, bade farewell to the 
eagle, and went on the blue sea : and he went on and 
he arrived at an island, where the ship stopped. He got 
out on the shore, and he remembered the two coffers, 
and began to wonder what was in them, and why the 
eagle had bidden him not to open them ; and he thought 
and thought, and his patience gave way. He so badly 


wanted to know, and so he took tEe red coffer, put it on 
the ground and opened it, and out of it all sorts of cattle 
came out, so many that the eye could not count, and 
they almost filled the entire island. When the Tsar 
saw this he was grieved, and began to weep and say, 
" Whatever shall I do now ? how shall I collect all o£ 
this herd into such a tiny coffer ? " 

And then he saw that out of the water came a man, 
who went up to him and asked him, " Why are you 
weeping so bitterly, Tsar my master ? " 

" Why should I not weep ? " answered the Tsar. 
" How can I put all this great herd into this tiny coffer ? " 

" If you will I can aid you in your trouble ; I will 
collect all this herd, only on condition that you give me 
what you do not know of at home." 

So the Tsar began to ponder, " What do I not know 
of at home ? It seems to me that I know of everything." 
So he thought, and he considered it, and he said, " Go 
and collect them together, and I will give you what I 
do not know of at home." 

Then the man collected all of the cattle into the 
box, and the Tsar went on board and sailed on his own 

When he reached home he saw that a son had been 
born to him, the Tsarevich, and he began to kiss him 
and to fondle him. But then he began to weep bitter 

" Tsar my master," said the Tsaritsa, " why do you 
weep such bitter tears ? " 

" Out of joy," he said ; for he feared to tell her the 
truth that he must give up the Tsarevich. 

So then he went into the courtyard and opened the 
red coffer, and out of it oxen and kine, sheep and rams, 
came out. There was a multitude of all sorts of cattle. 
All the barns and the folds were full. He then came 
to the forecourt and he opened the green coffer, and 


in front of him a wonderful garden spread out with 
every kind of tree in it, and the Tsar was so joyous, 
and forgot to give his son up. 

Many years went by : one day the Tsar wanted to 
take a walk, and he went to the river ; and just then 
that same man peered up out of the water and said : 
" You are a very forgetful person. Tsar my master : 
you should recollect your debts." 

Then the Tsar went home with grief in his groaning 
heart, and he told the Tsaritsa and the Tsarevich all 
the real truth, and they were aiHicted ; and they all 
wept together and resolved that something must be 
done, and that they must give up the Tsarevich. So 
they took him to the seashore and left him by himself. 

And the Tsarevich looked round, and he saw a path, 
went on it, trusting God might lead him aright. So he 
went on and on, and he lost his way in the slumberous 
forest, and he saw a little izba ^ in the forest, and in the 
izbd^ there lived the Baba Yaga. " I wiU go in," thought 
the Tsarevich, and he went into the izbd.^ 

" Good-day, Tsarevich," said Baba Yaga : 

" Is it work on your way. 
Or for sloth do you stray ? " 

" Hey, babushka, give me food and drink, and ask me 

So she then gave him food and drink, and the Tsarevich 
told her all his sorrow without any concealment — whither 
he was going and why. 

Then Baba Yaga said to him, " Go, my child, to the 
sea ; there you will find twelve spoonbills flying in the 
air, they will turn into fair maidens, who will bathe. 
You go and hide yourself, and seize the shirt of the 
eldest maiden. When you have made friends with her, 
go to the Sea Tsar." 

1 Hut. 


The Tsarevich bade farewell to Baba Yaga, went to 
the spot she named on the seashore, and he hid himself 
behind the bushes. Then twelve spoonbills flew along, 
struck the grey earth, and turned into fair maidens, 
who began bathing. The Tsarevich stole the maiden's 
shirt, sat behind the bush, and never stirred. The 
maidens came out of the sea and went on shore : eleven 
of them struck the earth, turned into birds and flew 
home : one was left alone, the eldest — Vasilisa the Wise. 
And when she saw that her sisters flew away she said, 
"Do not seek me, my dear sisters, but fly home. I am 
myself to blame ; it is all my own fault ; I did not 
look, and I must pay the cost." So the sisters, the fair 
maidens, struck the grey earth and turned into spoon- 
bills, spread their wings, and flew far away. Vasilisa 
the Wise was left by herself, and she looked round and 
said : " Whoever he be who now has my shirt, let him 
come here : if he be an old man, he shall be as my own 
father ; if he be a middle-aged man, he shall be as my 
beloved brother ; if he be of my age, he shall be my 

As soon as he heard this, Ivan Tsarevich came out of 
his lurking-place. So she gave him a golden ring and 
said, " Ivan Tsarevich, how long you have been in 
coming ! The Sea Tsar is wroth with you. That is 
the road which leads to the kingdom under the sea ; 
come on it boldly. There you will find me as well, for 
I am Vasilisa the Wise, the daughter of the Sea Tsar." 
Then . Vasilisa the Wise, the eldest, struck the earth, 
turned into a spoonbill, and flew away from the Tsarevich. 

Then Ivan went into the under-seas, and he saw light 
there as it is above, fields and meadows and green arbours ; 
and the sun was hot. Then he came to the Sea Tsar, and 
the Sea Tsar shrieked out at him : " Why have you been 
so long ? You have been guilty, and you must do me 
this service : I, have a piece of waste ground thirty 


versts long and broad, and there is nothing on it except 
ditches, ravines and sharp stones. By to-morrow morning 
all this must be as smooth as the palm of my hand ; 
rye must be sown and grow so high that a jackdaw 
might be hidden in it. But if you fail, your head shall 
roll off your shoulders." 

Ivan Tsarevich left the Sea Tsar and wept a sea of 
tears. Out of the window of her room, from a lofty 
turret, Vasilisa the Wise saw him and asked, " Hail, 
Ivan Tsarevich ! why are you weeping ? " 

" How should I not weep ? " answered Ivan. " The 
Sea Tsar has bidden me in a single night level the ravines 
and clear the stones from a piece of land thirty versts 
long and broad, and grow rye on it so high that a jack- 
daw might hide in it." 

" That is easy enough : this is no trouble — trouble is 
still ahead. Come and lie down in peace ; the morning 
is wiser than the evening. All shall be ready." 

So Ivan Tsarevich went and lay down, and Vasilisa 
the Wise went to a little window and cried in a thun- 
derous voice, " Hail, my faithful servants, go and level 
the 4eep ravines, take away the sharp stones, sow the 
ground with full-eared rye, so that in the morning it 
shall grow so high that a jackdaw might hide in it." 

In the morning Ivan Tsarevich awoke, and when he 
looked out it was all done : there were no ravines and 
no crevasses, and the field was as flat as the palm of his 
hand, and the rye on it was red and so lofty that a jack- 
daw might hide in it. And he went to report his prowess 
to the Sea Tsar. 

" Thank you," said the Sea Tsar. " You have been 
able to fulfil me this service. Here is your second work. 
I have thirty hayricks, and each hayrick contains as 
much as thirty piles of white-eared barley. Thresh me 
all the barley clean, quite clean to the last grain, and 
do not destroy the hayricks nor beat down the sheaves. 


If you do not do this, your shoulders and your head will 
part company." 

" I will obey your Majesty," said Ivan Tsarevich, and 
again he went to the courtyard and was lost in tears. 

" Why are you weeping, Ivan Tsarevich, so bitterly ? " 
Vasilisa the Wise asked him. 

" Why should I not weep ? The Sea Tsar has bidden 
me thresh clean thirty hayricks of barley without destroy- 
ing a hayrick or a single sheaf, and all in a single night." 

" That is an easy task. Harder tasks are to come. 
Sleep in peace, for the morning is wiser than the evening." 

So Ivan Tsarevich went and lay down. 

Vasilisa went to her window and cried out in a 
threatening voice, " Hail, ye creeping ants, as many as 
there be of you in the white world, all creep here and 
pick out all the corn of my father's hayricks quite 

In the morning the Sea Tsar asked Ivan Tsarevich if 
he had done this service. 

" I have, your Majesty." 

" Let us go and see." 

So they went to the barn floor, and there aU the 
hayricks stood untouched ; and they went to the granary, 
and all the lofts were filled to the top with corn. 

" Thank you, brother," said the Sea Tsar. " Now 
you must make me a church out of white wax, to be 
ready to-night, and this shall be your last task." 

Once again Ivan Tsarevich went to the courtyard 
and began to weep. 

" Why are you weeping, Ivan Tsarevich ? " 

" Why should I not weep ? The Sea Tsar has bidden 
me in a single night build a church of white wax." 

" That is an easy task : harder tasks are near at hand. 
Lie down in peace, for the morning is wiser than the 

So Ivan Tsarevich went to sleep. 


Then she went to her window and called to her all 
the bees in the white world, " Hail, ye bees my servants, 
do ye build me a church of your white wax, and let it 
be finished before the morning." 

In the morning Ivan got up, looked, and saw the 
church stood there made of clean wax, and he went to 
the Sea Tsar and reported. 

" Thank you, Ivan Tsarevich : of all the servants I 
have had, none of them have been able to do as well as 
you. Now be my heir and the preserver of my kingdom. 
Now select yourself a bride out of my twelve daughters. 
They are all alike, face for face, hair with hair, clothing 
with clothing. If you guess three times the same one, 
she shall be your bride ; if you do not, you shall suffer." 

Vasilisa the Wise learned of this, chose her opportunity, 
and said to the Tsarevich, " The first time I will wave 
my dress, the second time I wiU smooth my dress, and 
the third time there shall be a fly buzzing round my 
head." Thus he was able to guess Vasilisa all three 
times. And they were betrothed, and there was a 
merry feast for three days. 

Time went by, may-be little, may-be much. Ivan 
Tsarevich grew anxious to see his father and mother, 
and he wished to go back to Holy Russia. 

" Why are you so grieved, Ivan Tsarevich ? " 

" O Vasilisa the Wise, I am afflicted for my father 
and my mother, and desire to behold Holy Russia." 

" If we go away there will be a mighty chase after us. 
The Sea Tsar will be wroth, and will give us over to 
death. We must be cunning." So Vasilisa spat in three 
corners, and the doors of her room opened, and she, 
with Ivan Tsarevich, ran into Sacred Russia. On the 
second day, very early, an embassy came from the Sea 
Tsar to catch the young couple, and to summon them 
into the palace, and they knocked on the door : " Wake 
up, get up from your sleep ; your father is calling you." 


" It is jet early : we have not yet had our sleep ; 
come later on," one pool answered. 

Then the ambassadors retired, and they waited one 
hour and another hour, and they knocked again : " This 
is not the time and season to sleep ; this is the time and 
season to get up." 

" Have a little patience, we will get up ; we are 
dressing," the second pool answered. 

And the third time the envoys came, saying that the 
Sea Tsar was angry : " Why are you so long making 
ready ? " 

" We will be down soon," answered the third pool. 

So the messengers waited and waited, and then again 
knocked. Then there was no answer and no reply, so 
they broke in the door, and all was empty. Then they 
went and sent word to the Sea Tsar that the young folk 
had run away. He was vety angry, and he set a mighty 
hunt after them. 

i But Vasilisa the Wise, with Ivan Tsarevich, was 
already very far ahead : they were leaping on swift 
horses without staying, without taking breath. " Now, 
Ivan Tsarevich, bend your head down to the grey earth 
and listen. Is there no noise of a hunt from the Sea 
Tsar ? " 

Ivan Tsarevich leapt down from his horse, put his 
ear to the ground, and said, " I hear the talk of people, 
and the tramp of horses." 

" This is the hunt after us," said Vasilisa the Wise. 
And she at once turned the horses into a green meadow, 
Ivan Tsarevich into an old shepherd, and herself into 
a brooding lamb. 

The hunt passed by. 
, " Ho, old man, have you seen a doughty youth with a 
fair maiden galloping by ? " 

" No, good folk, I have not seen them," said Ivan 
Tsarevich. " It is forty years I have been pasturing 


on these fields ; not one bird has ever flown by, not one 
wild beast has ever rambled by." 

So they returned home. 

" Your Imperial Majesty, we saw no one on the road ; 
we only saw a shepherd feeding a little sheep." 

" Why did you not take it ? That was themselves ! " 
said the Sea Tsar. And he sent out a second hunt. 

But Ivan Tsarevich and Vasilisa the Wise were leaping 
far off on their swift steeds. " Now, Ivan Tsarevich, 
put your head to the grey earth and listen whether 
there is no hunt from the Sea Tsar." 

Ivan Tsarevich leapt off his horse, put his ear to the 
grey earth and said, " I hear the talk of people and the 
hoppety-hop of horses." 

" This is the chase, that is the steeds," said Vasilisa 
the Wise ; and she turned herself into a church, and 
Ivan Tsarevich into an elderly pope and the horses 
into trees. 

So the hunt went by. 

" Ho, bdtyushka, have you seen a shepherd with a 
little lamb passing by ? " 

" No, good people, I have not. I have been working 
for forty years in this church ; not one bird has flown 
by, not one beast has rambled by." 

So the hunt went back and reached home. 

" Your Imperial Majesty, we could not find the 
shepherd with the little lamb : the only thing we saw 
on the road was a church and an old man as pope." 

" Why did you not break down the church and 
capture the pope ? That was themselves ! " the Sea 
Tsar exclaimed, and he himself leapt out to hunt after 
Ivan Tsarevich and Vasilisa the Wise. 

So they went far, and again Vasilisa the Wise said, 
" Ivan Tsarevich, put your ear to the ground ; can you 
hear any hunt ? " 

Then the Tsarevich leapt down, put his ear to the 


grey earth, and said, " I hear the talk of people and the 
thunder o£ horses' hooves faster than before." 
" This is the Sea Tsar himself who is galloping." 
So Vasilisa the Wise turned the horses into a mere, 
Ivan Tsarevich into a drake, and herself into a duck. 
The Sea Tsar came up to the lake and he instantly- 
guessed who were the duck and the drake, so he struck 
the grey earth and turned into an eagle. The eagle 
wanted to smite them to death, and it might well have 
been ; but, as soon as ever he struck at the drake, it 
dived into the water, and whenever he struck at the 
duck the duck dived into the water, and whatever he 
might do was all in vain. 

So the Sea Tsar galloped back to his own kingdom 
under the seas, and Vasilisa the Wise with Ivan Tsarevich 
waited a while and then returned to Sacred Russia. It 
may-be long, it may-be short, at last they came into 
the thrice-ninth realm. When they arrived home his 
father and mother were overjoyed to see Ivan Tsarevich, 
for they had given him up as lost. And they made a 
great feast and celebrated the marriage. 

I was there, I drank mead and wine : it flowed up to my 
beard, but it never entered my mouth. 


Once an Ox was wandering in the wood, and a Ram met 
him. " Where are you going, Ram ? " asked the Ox. 

" I am seeking summer in winter," answered the 

" Come with me." 

So they went together. And they met a Pig. 

" Where are you going, Pig ? " asked the Ox. 

" I am seeking summer in winter." 

" Come with us." 

So they all went together. And they then met a 

" Where are you going, Goose ? " said the Bull. 

" I am seeking summer in winter," said the Goose. 

" Well, come with us." 

So the Goose came with them. So they went on, and 
they met a Cock. 

" Where are you going. Cock ? " asked the Bull. 

" I am seeking summer in winter." 

" Then come with us," said the BuU again. 

So they went on their road and way, and began speak- 
ing amongst each other. " What shall we do, brothers 
and comrades ? the cold time is approaching : how 
shall we have warmth ? " 

So the Ox said, " We will build an izbd,^ and we shall 
not freeze during the winter." 

Then the Ram said : " My shuba is very warm ; I will 
pass the winter in this fashion." 

Then the Pig said, " I do not mind any frost whatso- 

» Hut. 


ever: I will burrow into the ground and do without 
any izbd."^ 

Then the Goose said, " I will sit in the middle of this 
spruce, lie on one wing, and cover myself over with the 
other, and the cold cannot touch me. That is how I 
shall pass the winter." 

Then the Cock said, " I shall do the same." 

Then the Ox saw he could not do any good : every 
man must do as he likes. " Well," he said, " as you wish. 
/ am going to build an izbd."^ 

So he built himself an izbd,^ and he lived in it. 

Then the cold time came, and earth began to feel the 
frosts. And the Ram, who could not help himself, came 
to the Bull and said, " Brother, let me in." 

" No, Ram, you have a warm shuba ; that is how you 
are going to pass the winter ! I shall not let you in." 

" But if you do not let me in, I shall run up and will 
dislodge the joists of the izbd,^ and you will feel much 

So the Bull thought, and on second thoughts said, 
" Very weU, I will let you in. Otherwise I might 
freeze." And he let the Ram in. 

Soon the Pig felt frozen, and came to the Bull and said, 
" Brother, let me in." 

" No, Pig, I will not let you in. You need only burrow 
down in the ground : that is how you are going to pass 
the winter ! " 

" But if you will not let me in, with my snout I will 
drill aU of your uprights and will knock your izbd^ 

Well, there was no help for it, and the Bull had to 
let Piggy in. 

Then the Goose and the Cock came to the Bull and 
said, " Brother, we want to come in and warm ourselves." 

" No, I will not let you in : both of you have two 

' Hut. 


wings. One of them you put under you, and the other 
you put over you : that is how you pass the winter." 

" But if you do not let us in," said the Goose, " I will 
pluck away aU the moss from the walls, and you will be 
much colder ! " 

" What ! won't you let me in ? " said the Cock. " I 
will fly on to the garret and I will scatter all the earth 
from the roof, and you wiU be much colder." 

Well, the BuU was beaten, and he was forced to admit 
the Goose and the Cock. In the warm hut the Cock 
crowed and began singing merry songs. 

Now the Fox heard the Cock singing merry songs, 
and thought he would like to make such a dainty acquaint- 
ance, only he did not know how to. 

So the Fox bethought himself of his wiles, and ran up 
to the Bear and the Wolf and said, " Now, my dear 
kinsmen, I have found food for aU of us : a Bull for you, 
Mr. Bear, a Ram for you, Mr. Wolf, and a Cock for 

" What a capital fellow you are, Mr. Fox ! " said the 
Bear and the Wolf. " We shall never be oblivious of 
your services : let us kill and eat them." 

So the Fox led them up to the little izbd.^ When 
they reached the hut, the Bear said to the Wolf : " You 
go first." 

But the Wolf said, " That would be altogether wrong 
— ^you must go first." 

So then the Bear and the Wolf said to the Fox, " You 
must go first." 

As the Fox went in, the Bull gored him with his horns 
to the wall, and the Ram sat on his flanks, and the Pig 
tore him to atoms, whilst the Goose flew on to him and 
picked out his eyes. But the Cock went and flew up to 
the girder and crowed, " Do come in, oh do, do, do ! " 

" Why is the Fox such a long time at work with the 

' Hut. 


Cock ? " said the Wolf : " Unlock the door, Mikhaylo 
Ivanovich,^ and I will come in." 

" Very well, come in ! " So the Bull opened the door 
and the Wolf leapt into the izbd.^ 

As the Wolf went in the BuU gored him to the wall 
with his horns, the Ram sat on his sides and the Pig 
tore him to atoms, while the Goose flew on to him and 
picked out his eyes. The Cock flew up to the girders 
and began shouting, "Come along here, come along 
here ! " 

But the Bear got tired of waiting so long : " What a 
long job he is making of that Ram ! " he thought. " I 
must go in." So he also went into the hut, and the Bull 
gave him the same royal welcome. 

He burst out by sheer force and galloped away at full 
jspeed, and never once looked round. 

^ A mock patronymic for the Bull. 
2 Hut. 




Once in the famous city of Murom^ in the village of 
Karacharovo, a peasant lived who vi^as called Ivan 
Timofeyevich ; he had one beloved son, Ilya Muromets. 
And he sat down in a house as a stay-at-home for thirty 
years, and after the thirty years had gone by he began 
to walk on his feet mightily, and he gained great strength. 
Then he made himself the trappings of war and a lance 
of steel, and got himself a good steed, a knightly horse ; 
he then went up to his mother and father and asked their 
blessing. " Ye, my masters, my mother and father, let me 
go into the famous city of Kiev, to pray to God and to 
do homage to our prince at Kiev." 

The mother and father gave him their blessing, and 
made him swear a mighty oath, and they enjoined a 
mighty service upon him. And they spake in this wise : 
" Do you go straight to the city of Kiev, straight to the 
city of Chernigov, and on your journeying do no one 
any hurt, spUl no Christian blood vainly." 

Ilya Muromets took the blessing of his father and 
mother, prayed to God, bade farewell to his father and 
mother, and set forth on his way and road. And he 
journeyed far in the dark woods, and Hghted on a camp 
of robbers. Those robbers saw Ilya Muromets, and were 
envious in their robber-like hearts for his knightly horse, 
and began to speak amongst themselves how they might 
take that horse ; for steeds so fine were not seen in those 
parts, and now some unknown man was passing by on 
^ V. note to p. 125. 


one. So they set on Ilya Muromets, ten at once and then 
by twenties. And Ilya Muromets stopped his knightly 
horse, took a tempered dart and set it on his strong bow. 
He let the tempered dart fall on the earth, and it tore 
into the earth fifty feet. 

And seeing this, the robbers were afraid, and collected 
in a circle, fell on their knees and prayed him, " Master, 
our father, youth mighty of prowess, we are guilty in 
thine eyes ; and, for this our guilt, as it pleaseth thee, 
inflict on us a fine as much as is fit, whether it be coloured 
clothes or droves of horses." 

Ilya smiled at them and said : " I need no garments, 
but, if ye wish to enjoy your life, henceforth take no 
more hazards." 

And he went on his road to the famous city of Kiev. 
And Ilya Muromets set out on the road ; when he came 
under the walls of the city of Sebezh he saw three 
Tsarevichi from foreign parts, who had a host of thirty 
thousand men ; they wished to capture the city of 
Sebezh and to take the Tsar of Sebezh prisoner. So 
Ilya Muromets set out after the three Tsarevichi, and 
he pursued them down to the seashore and slew all the 
rest of the army, but captured the Tsarevichi alive and 
returned to the city of Sebezh, and the citizens saw him 
and gave news of this to their Tsar. 

When he arrived at the city of Chernigov, under the 
walls of the city of Chernigov there was a Saracen host 
too many to count besieging the city of Chernigov : 
they were going to sack it and to set God's churches 
aflame, and to take captive the Prince, the Duke of 
Chernigov. And at that mighty host and fray, Ilya 
Muromets was afraid, but he placed himself at the will 
of the Saviour, and thought how he would sacrifice his 
head for the Christian faith. Then Ilya Muromets began 
to lay low the Saracen host with his lance of steel, and 
he routed all of the pagan host and took the Tsarevich 


of the Saracens captive and led him into the city o£ 
Chernigov. As he entered, all the citizens of the city 
of Chernigov met him and gave him honour, and the 
Prince and Duke of. Chernigov himself came out to 
receive the doughty youth with honour and to give 
thanks to the Lord God for sending such unexpected 
succour to the city and not letting them aU perish help- 
lessly before the mighty Saracen host. They received 
him into their palace and they gave him a great feast, 
and set him on his way. 

Ilya Muromets went to the city of Kiev straight f rom- 
Chernigov on the road by the village of Kutiizovo, which 
the Nightingale Robber had been oppressing for thirty 
years, not letting any man pass, whether on horseback 
or on foot,, and assailing them not with any weapon, 
but only with his robber's whistle. Ilya Muromets rode 
into the open field and saw the scattered bones of knights- 
and warriors. He rode over them and arrived at the 
Bryanski woods,^ the miry swamp, to the hazel-tree 
bridges, and to the Smorodina river. The Nightingale 
Robber heard his end approaching, and felt a foreboding 
of a terrible ill ; and before Ilya Muromets had advanced 
twenty versts, he whistled with his powerful robber's 
whistle. But the valorous heart of Ilya was not afraid, 
and before ever he had advanced ten versts more the 
Nightingale Robber whistled more terribly than before, 
and the horse of Ilya Muromets stumbled at the 

At last Ilya arrived at the nest, which was spread above 
twelve oaks, and the Nightingale Robber was sitting in 
the- nest, saw the white Russian knight approaching, and 
began to whistle with all of his might, essaying to smite 
Ilya Muromets to death. Ilya Muromets took out his 
strong bow, put a tempered dart to it, and shot it at the 

^ A great forest in Central Russia, once impenetrable and always 


nest of the Nightingale Robber ;. it fell into his right eye 
and went beyond. Ajid the Robber-Nightingale fell' down- 
from his nest like a sheaf of oats. Ilya Miiromets took 
the Robber-Nightingale, tied him strongly to his steel 
stirrup and rode to the famous city of Kiev. 

On his way he passed the palace of the Nightingale 
Robber, and as soon as he came up to the Robber's 
palace the windows were opened and out of these win- 
dows the Nightingale Robber's three daughters were 
looking. The youngest daughter saw him, and cried 
out to her sisters : " Here is our father coming back 
with booty : he is bringing us a man tied to his steel 

But the elder sister looked out and cried bitterly: 
" That is not our father ; some unknown man is coming 
along and is dragging our father after him." 

Then they cried out to their husbands, " Masters, do 
ye go and meet that man and slay him for the slaying of 
our father, lest our name be disgraced." 

Then their husbands, mighty warriors, set out to face 
the white Russian knight. They had good horses, sharp 
lances, and they wished to hoist Ilya aloft on their 

The Nightingale Robber saw them, and said, " My 
beloved sons, do not dishonour nor take such a bold 
knight, and so all receive your death from him ; it would 
be better to ask his forgiveness in humbleness and 
to ask him into my house to have a goblet of green 

So at the invitation of the sons-in-law Ilya returned 
home and received no evil of them. 

The eldest daughter raised an iron storm-board of 
chains for him to stumble against ;. but Ilya saw her on 
the gates, struck at her with his lance, and he smote her 
to death. 

When Ilya arrived at the city of Eiev, he went straight 


to the Prince's courtyard, entered the white stone palace, 
prayed to God and did homage to the Prince. 

The Prince o£ Kiev asked him, " Say, doughty youth, 
how do they call thee ? Of what city art thou ? " 

And Ilya Muromets returned answer : " My lord, 
they call me Ilyushka, and by my father's name Ivanov ; 
I live in the city of Murom in the village of Kara- 

Then the Prince asked him, " By what road didst 
thou come ? " 

" From Miirom by the city of Chernigov, and under 
the walls of Chernigov I routed a Saracen host too many 
to count, and I relieved the city of Chernigov. And 
from there I went straight and I took the mighty 
Nightingale Robber alive and dragged him along at my 
steel stirrup." 

Then the Prince was angry and said, " Why art thou 
telling such tales ? " 

When the knights Alyosha Popovich and Dobrynya 
Nikitich heard this, they dashed out to look, and assured 
the Prince that this was reaUy so. 

Then the Prince bade a goblet of green wine be given 
to the doughty youth. The Prince, however, wished 
to hear the whistle of the Robber-Nightingale. Ilya 
Muromets put the Prince and Princess into a sable 
shuba, seized them under the arm, called in the Nightin- 
gale Robber and bade him whistle Hke a nightingale with 
only half his whistle ; but the Nightingale Robber 
whistled with all his robber's whistle, and he deafened 
all of the knights, so that they fell to the ground, and as 
a punishment for this was slain by Ilya Muromets. 

Ilya Muromets swore blood brotherhood with 
Dobr;^nya Nikitich, then they saddled their good horses 
and rode forth on the open fields ; and they journeyed 
on for about three months and found no opponent worthy 
of their steel : they had only gone in the open field. 


Then they met a passer-by, a beggar singing psalms. 
His shirt weighed fifteen pud, and his hat ten pud, and 
his stick was ten sazhens long. Ilya Miiromets set on 
him with his horse, and was going to try his mighty 
strength on him. 

Then the passing beggar saw Ilya Muromets and said : 
" Hail, Ilya Muromets ! Do you recollect ? I learned 
my letters with you in the same school, and now you are 
setting your horse on me, who am only a beggar, as 
though I were an enemy, and you do not know that a 
very great misfortune has befallen the city of Kiev. 
The infidel knight, the mighty man, the dishonourable 
Idolishche, has arrived. His head is as big as a beer 
cauldron, and his shoulders a sazhen broad. There is a 
span length between his brows, and between his ears 
there is a tempered dart. And he eats an ox at a time 
and he drinks a cask at a time. The Prince of Kiev is 
very aggrieved with you that you have left him in such 

So Ilya Muromets changed into the beggar's dress 
and rode straight back to the palace of the Prince, and 
cried out in a knightly voice : " Hail to thee. Prince of 
Kiev ! give me, a wandering beggar, alms." 

And the Prince saw him and spoke in this wise : " Come 
into my palace, beggar. I will give you food and drink 
and will give you gold on your way." 

So the beggar went into the palace and stood at the 
stove and looked round. 

IdoHshche asked to eat, so they brought him an entire 
roasted ox and he ate it to the bones ; then Idolishche 
asked for drink, so they brought him a cauldron of beer ; 
and twenty men had to bring it in. And he held it up 
to his ears and drank it all through. 

Ilya Muromets said, " My father had a gluttonous 
mare ; it guzzled until its breath failed." 

Idolishche could not stand this affront, and said, " Hail, 


wandering beggar ! Do you dare me ? I could take you 
in my hands ; if it had been Ilya Muromets I would 
even have braved him." 

" Well," said Ilya Muromets, " that is the kind of man 
he was ! " And he took off his cap and struck him lightly 
on the head, and he nearly knocked through the walls 
of the palace, took Idolishche's trunk and flung it out. 
And in return the Prince honoured Ilya Muromets, 
praised him highly, and placed him amongst the mighty 
knights of his court. 


One day, somewhere near Kiev, a dragon appeared, 
who demanded heavy tribute from the people. He 
demanded every time to eat a fair maiden : and at last 
the turn came to the Tsarevna, the princess. But the 
dragon would not eat her, she was too beautifuL He 
dragged her into his den and made her hia wife. , When 
he flew out on business, he used to pile logs of wood in 
front of the den to prevent the Tsarevna escaping. But 
the Tsarevna had a little dog that had folowed her all 
the way from home. When she wrote a letter to her 
father and mother she used to tie it to the neck of her 
little dog, which would run all the way home and bring 
an answer back. One day her parents wrote to her : 
" Try to discover any one who is stronger than the; 
dragon." The Tsarevna got every day on more intimate 
terms with her dragon in order to discover who was 
stronger. Atlast he owned that Nikita, the tanner at Kiev, 
was the stronger. So the Tsarevna at once wrote to her 
father : " Look for Nikita, the tanner at Kiev,, and send 
him on to me to deliver me from my imprisonment." 

So the Tsar looked for Nikita, and went, to him himself 
to beg him to release the land from the cruelty of the 
dragon and redeem the princess. 

Just then Nikita was tanning skins. He was just 
enfolding twelve hides in his hands. But when he saw 
the Tsar come to see him, his hands so trembled for 
fear that he rent the twelve hides. But, however much, 
the Tsar and the Tsaritsa asked him, he would not set 
out against the dragon. Then the Tsar assembled five 



thousand children, who were to mollify the tanner 
with their bitter tears. The little ones came to Nikita and 
begged him to go and fight the dragon. And when he 
saw them weep, Nikita the tanner himself almost felt 
the tears flowing. He took thirty puds of hemp, tarred it, 
and swathed himself in it in order that the dragon might 
find him a hard morsel, and then set out. But the dragon 
locked himself up in his den and would not come to view. 

" Come with me into the open field, otherwise I will 
shatter your den to pieces ! " said the tanner, and began 
clattering at the doors. 

Then the dragon, seeing his doom approach, came 
out into the open. Nikita the tanner fought the grisly 
worm some time, maybe long, maybe short, and at last 
got him under. 

Then the dragon besought Nikita the tanner : " Do 
not beat me to death. Stronger than us two there is 
nothing in the white world. Let us divide the earth. 
You may live on the one half and I on the other." 

" Very well ! " said Nikita, " only we must dehmit 

So the tanner took the plough, which weighed three 
hundred puds, and harnessed to it the dragon, and drew 
the harrow all the way from Kiev to the Caspian Sea. 

" Now we have divided the entire earth," said the dragon. 

" Yes, we have divided the earth, but not the sea ; 
we must also divide the sea, otherwise you would say I 
was taking your share of the water." So they then set 
out into the middle of the sea, and there Nikita slew 
the dragon and drowned him. 

The trench may still be seen : it is two fathoms deep. 
They plough all round it ; but never touch the bottom : 
those who do not know whence came this trench call 
it a battlement. ■ 

When Nikita had done this feat, he dema'nded no 
reward for it, but went home and went on tanning. 


Once upon a time there was a very inquisitive King who 
spent all his time eavesdropping at the window. There 
was also a merchant, who had three daughters, and one 
day they were talking to their father, and one said : 
" If only the King's bread-bearer would marry me ! " 
The second one said : " If only the King's valet would 
cast his eyes upon me ! " But the third said : " I want 
the King himself : I would bear him two sons and one 

Now the King was listening to all this conversation ; 
and after a few days he did exactly as they had wished : 
the eldest married the King's bread-bearer, the middle 
one the King's valet, but the youngest married the King 

The King married very happily, and after some time 
his Queen was about to bear him a child. He was sending 
for the midwife of the town, but the elder sisters asked 
him why he should ; they would act as midwives. As 
soon as the Queen had born him a son, the midwives 
took him away and told the King his wife had born 
a pup ; and they put the new-born babe into a box and 
threw it into a big pond in the King's garden. 

At this the King was very angry, and wanted to have 
his wife blown to bits at the cannon's mouth ; but — it 
so happened — some other princes were on a visit, and 
persuaded him to forgive a first offence. So the King par- 
doned her for the nonce, and gave her a second chance. 

One year went by, and the Queen bore him another 



son, and the sisters again took it away, and told him she 
had born a kitten. The King was angry at first, this 
time he was sore enraged, and was agog to punish his 
wife, but once more he was won over. 

So he gave her a third chance. This time the Queen 
bore a very beautiful daughter, and the sisters took it 
and told the King she had born an -unheard-of monster. 
Oh ! there were no bounds to his fury now ; he ordered 
the hangman in and bade him hang his wife on the spot ; 
but once more some visiting princes overruled liim ^nd 
said : " Would it not be better to put an oratory up 
near the church and put her into it, and let every one 
who goes to Mass spit into her eyes ? " So he did ; but, 
so far from being spat upon by every passer-by, every 
one brought her fine loaves and pasties. 

But, when her thr£e children had been thrown into 
the pond in the King's garden, they were not drowned, 
for the King's gardener took them home and brought 
them lip. They were fine children ; you could see 
thjem growing up, not by years, but month-s, not by 
.days, but by hours. The King's sons shot up, youths no 
men could imagine, guess, or draw, or paint ; and the 
Tsarevna was such a beauty ! Almost terribly beautiful ! 
One day, when they were older, they asked the gardener 
to let them build themselves a little home behind the 
town. The gardener consented, and they erected a big, 
splendid house, and led a merry life in it. The brothers 
used to go hunting hares, and one .day they went off 
and left their sister alone at home. 

A visitor knocked at the door : the sister opened the 
door and saw an old hag, who said : " You have a pretty 
little place here ; three things are lacking." 

" What are they ? I always thought we had every- 
thing ! " . 

The hag replied : " You still need the Talking-Bird, 
the Singing-Tree, and the Water of Life." 


And then the sister was left all alone once more ; When 
her brothers came home, she said : " Brothers, we lack 
aiothing sa-ve three things." 

" What are they ? " 

"We haven't a Talking-Bird, a Singing-Tree, and the 
Water of Life ! " 

The elder brother said : " Sister, give me your bless- 
ing, and I'll go and discover you these marvels. If I die, 
or am killed, you will know by this knife dripping blood. 
There it is, stuck into the wall." 

So he went, and wandered away, far, far away into 
the forest. At last he came to a gigantic oak-tree ; and 
on the tree there was an old man sitting, ^whom he asked 
how he was to procure the " Talking-Bird, a Singing- 
Tree, and the Water of Life." 

The old man replied : " Possible it is, but m)t easy ; 
many go, but few return." 

But the young man persisted and left the old man. 
The old man gave him a rolling-pin, and told him to let 
it roll on in front of him, and follow wherever it went. 
The pin roUed on, and after it walked the Prince : it 
rolled up to a steep hill, and was lost. Then the Prince 
went up the hill, went half-way up ; and, as he went 
along, he heard a voice : " Hold him, seize him, grip 
him ! " He looked round and was turned into stone. 

That very same hour blood began to drip from the 
knife in the cottage, and the sister told the younger 
brother that the elder was dead. 

So he answered : " Now I will go, sister mine, and 
capture the Talking-Bird, the Singing-Tree, and the 
Water of Life ! " 

So she blessed him, and he went on and on for very 
many weary miles, and met the old man on the tree, 
who gave him another rollinig-pin : and the pin rolled mp 
to the mountain ; and both were lost, pin and Prince ! 

The sister waited for many years, but he never came 


back, and she thought he, too, must have died. So she 
set out to find the Talking-Bird, Singing-Tree, and 
Water of Life. She arrived at last at that same oak-tree, 
saw the old man sitting on it, greeted him, and shaved 
his head and brows, as she brought scissors and a mirror 
with her. 

" Look," she said, " what a change it makes in you ! " 

He looked into the mirror : " Yes," he said ; " I am 
quite a fine man now. I've sat here thirty years : never 
a soul cut my hair, you guessed my need." 

Then she asked him : " Grandfather, how can I get the 
Talking-Bird, the Singing-Tree, and the Water of Life ? " 

He answered : " How can you get them ? Cleverer 
folk than you have been after them, and they have all 
been lost." 

But she persisted : " Please tell me ! " 

So he gave her another rolling-pin, and told her to 
follow it : she would hear cries of " Catch her : scotch 
her," but she must not look round, for fear of being 
turned into stone. " At the top you will see a well and 
the Talking-Bird. As you come back, you will see lofty 
stones standing upright ; sprinkle them all with the 
Water of Life." 

So on she went : the pin rolled on, far or near, long or 
short, it reached a steep mountain ; and the girl climbed 
up and heard cries : " Where are you going ? We shall 
kill you ! We shall eat you up ! " 

But still she went on and on, reached the summit, 
and there she found a well and the Talking-Bird. She 
took it and asked it : " Tell me how to get the Singing- 
Tree and the Water of Life." 

The Bird replied : " Go straight by this path." 

She did, and came upon the Singing-Tree, and in it 
all sorts of birds were singing. She broke off a sprig, 
pulled up a water-lily, and put some of the Water of Life 
into the cup of the flower, and turned back homewards. 


As she clomb downhill, she saw boulders standing 
upright, and sprinkled them with the Water of Life ; 
and heir brothers jumped up alive and said : " Oh, what 
a long sleep we have had ! " 

" Yes, my brothers, but for me you would have slept 
on for ever. And look here ; I have got you the Talking- ' 
Bird, the Singing-Tree, and the Water of Life ! " 

The brothers were overjoyed, went home and planted 
the Singing-Tree in the garden ; it overspread the 
whole garden; and all kinds of birds began singing. 

One day they were out hunting and the King met 
them by chance. He fell in love with the gay huntsmen, 
and invited them home. They said they would ask their 
sister, and come at once if she consented. 

So they went back home. The sister met them and 
greeted them, and the brothers said : " Please, sister, 
may we go and dine with the King ? He has asked us in." 

She said " Yes," and they went. At the banquet, the 
King gave them the place of honour, and they begged he 
would honour them with a visit. Some days later the 
King went. They gave him a rich spread, and showed 
him the Singing-Tree and the Talking-Bird. 

He was amazed and said : " I am the King, and have 
nothing as good ! " 

Then the King looked at them and said : " Who is 
your father ? " 

They said : " We do not know." But the Talking- 
Bird broke in and said : " They are your children." 

Then the King looked at the maiden and wanted to 
marry her. Again the Talking-Bird said : " You may 
not ; she is your daughter." 

The King then saw how matters stood ; was over- 
joyed ; took them to live with him for ever. As to the 
two evil sisters, he had them shot ; but his wife he 
released from the chapel, and took her to himself again, 
and they lived merrily on for many years of happiness. 


Once there lived a poor peasant ; and, however much 
he might toil and moil, he got nothing out of it. " Oh," 
he thought to himself, " mine is a sorry lot ; I spend all my 
days on my fields ; and then, when I look, I am starving, 
whilst my neighbour is lying aU day long on his back, 
and then he has a big estate and all the profits swim 
into his pockets. Evidently I have not pleased God. 
I will get up in the morning and pray until evening, 
and perhaps the Lord may have mercy on me." 

So he began to pray to God, and went hungry for days 
on days ; and he still went on praying. 

At last Easter Day came, and the bells rang for Mass. 
So the poor peasant thought, " All good folks are getting 
ready to break the fast, and I have not a crust of bread. 
Well, if I bring water, I can sip it like soup." So he took 
a small can, went to the well, and as soon as he dipped 
it into the water a big pike fell into it. Then the peasant 
was very glad. " Here is something for supper ; I will 
cook it and make fish soup of it, and shall have a fine 

Then the pike said to him in a human voice : " Let 
me go free, good man, go free. I will make you happy ; 
whatever your soul may desire you shall possess. You 
need only say : 

At the pike's good pleasure, 
By God's good measure — 

let this or that appear ! and you will get it at once." 



So the peasant put the pike back into the water, went 
to his hut, sat down at the table and said : 

" At the pike's good pleasure, 
By God's good measure — 

let the table be covered and my dinner ready." 

Then from somewhere or other all sorts of dishes and 
drinks appeared on the table, enough to please a Tsar, 
and a Tsar would not have been ashamed of it. So the 
poor man crossed himself, said " Glory be to Thee, O 
Lord ! now I can break the fast." So he went to the 
church, attended Matins and Mass, turned back and 
again broke his fast, ate and drank as well, went outside 
the door and sat at the counter. 

Just about then the Princess had an idea that she 
would go abroad in the streets, and she went with her 
attendants and maids of honour, and for the sake of the 
holy festival went to give alms to the poor ; she gave to 
them all but forgot the poor peasant. Then he said to 
himself : 

"At the pike's good pleasure, 
Of God's good treasure — 

let the Tsarevna bear a child." And at the word that 
very instant the Tsarevna became pregnant, and in ten 
months she bore a son. 

Then the Tsar began to ask her, " Do acknowledge 
with whom you have been guilty." 

Then the Tsarevna wept and swore in every way that 
she had been guilty with nobody. " I do not know 
myself," she said, " why the Lord has chastised me." 

The Tsar asked, but found nothing out. 

Soon a boy was born who grew not by days but by 
hours ; and at the end of a week he could already talk. 
So the Tsar summoned all the boydrs and the senators 
from every part of the kingdom to show them the 


youth, but none of them acknowledged that he was 
the fathef . 

" No," the boy answered, " none of them is my 

Then the Tsar bade the maids of honour and atten- 
dants take him up to every courtyard, through all the 
streets, and to show him to all manner of people. So 
the attendants and maids of honour took the youth 
through all the courtyards, through all the streets they 
went. But the boy said nothing. 

At last they came to the poor peasant's hut. As soon 
as the boy saw that peasant, he at once stretched out his 
little hands and said " Tydtya, Tydtya ! " Then they 
told the Emperor of this, and they summoned the poor 
man into the palace, and the Tsar began to inquire of 
him, " Acknowledge on oath, is this your boy ? " 

" No, he is God's son." 

Then the Tsar was angry and married the poor man 
to the Princess, and after the wedding he set them both 
with the child in a big tub, smeared it with tar, and 
sent it out into the open sea. So the tub sailed on the 
open sea, and the boisterous winds carried and bore it 
to a distant shore. When the poor man heard that the 
water no longer moved under them, he said : 

"At the pike's good pleasure, 
At God's good measure — 

let the barrel rest on a dry spot." 

So the barrel turned round and got on to a dry spot, 
and they went on, following their eyes. And they went 
on and on, on and on, and they had nothing to eat or 
drink. The Princess was utterly exhausted and had 
pined away to a shadow, and she could hardly stand on 
her legs. 

< " Now," said the poor man, " do you know what 
hunger and thirst are ? " 


" Yes, I do," said the Princess. 

" Well, this is what the poor have to endure. Yet you 
would not give me alms on Easter Day." Then the po6r 
man said : 

" At the pike's good pleasure, 
Of God's good treasure — 

let there be here a rich palace, the finest in all the world, 
with gardens and ponds and all sorts of pavilions." 

As soon as he had spoken a rich palace appeared ; 
faithful henchmen ran out of it and carried them in 
their hands, led them into the white stone rooms, and 
they sat down at the oaken tables with chequered linen 
on them. It was marvellously decorated, was this 
palace. On the table everything was ready, wine and 
sweets and made dishes. The poor man and the 
Tsarevna ate and drank at their will, rested them, and 
went for a walk into the garden. 

" Everything is beautiful here," said the Princess ; 
" the only thing still lacking is to see the birds upon our 

" Wait, you shall have birds as well," answered the 
poor man, and he said at once : 

"At the pike's good pleasure. 
At God's good measure — 

let twelve ducks and one drake swim on the pond, and 
let them have one feather of gold and another of silver, 
and let the drake have a diamond tuft on his forehead ! " 
And lo and behold, on the water there were twelve ducks 
and one drake swimming ; one feather was of gold 
and one feather was of silver, and the drake had a 
diamond tuft on his forehead. 

So there the Princess and her husband lived without 
grief or moil, and their son grew up a big lad and began 
to feel in himself a giant's strength. And he asked leave 


of his father and mother to go out into the white world 
and to seek himself I a bride. They gave him leave to go, 
and said,/' Go, my son." 

So he saddled his knightly horse and set out on his 
road and way. And as he journeyed on he met an old 
woman who said, " Hail, Russian prince, where do you 
wish to go ? " 

" I am going, babushka,'^ to seek a bride, but I do not 
know where I am to find her." 

"Stay, I will tell you, my child. Do you go beyond 
the ocean into the thrice-tenth kingdom ; there there 
is a king's daughter so fair, that, if you go through all the 
world, you will never find any one more beautiful." 

So the good youth thanked the woman, went to the 
seashore, hired a boat, and sailed to the thrice-tenth 
land. He sailed, maybe far, maybe near, maybe long^ 
maybe short — the tale is soon told but the deed is not 
soon done — ^and he at last arrived at that kingdom, and 
appeared before the king of it, and asked for his daughter's 
hand in marriage. 

Then the King said to him, " You are not the only 
suitor for my daughter ; there is another suitor, a 
mighty knight. If I refuse him he will destroy all of- my 

" But, if you decline my offer, I will ravage your 

"What will you? — you had better measure your 
strength with him : to whichever of you conquers I 
will give my daughter." 

" Very well ; summon all the Tsars- and Tsarevichi, 
aE the Kings and Korolevichi, to see us wage an honour- 
able holmgang to win your daughter." 

So then hunters were sent out to all cities, and one 
year had not gone by before from all the neighbouring 
parts all the Tsars and Tsarevichi, all the Kings and 
^ Grandmother. 


Korolevichi came together, as also the Tsar who had put 
his own daughter into the barrel and sent her out into 
the sea. 

On the day appointed all the knights made ready for 
a bloody holmgang. They fought and fought, and the 
earth groaned at their blows, the forests bowed down 
and the rivers rose in waves. The Tsarevna's son first 
overcame his opponent and cut off his turbulent head. 

Then all the royal boydrs ran up, took the doughty 
youth into their hands and led him into the palace. 
Next day he was married to the Korolevna. And after 
they had feasted at the wedding he set about inviting all 
the Tsars and Tsarevichi, the Kings and the Korolevichi 
as his guests to his father and mother. So they all came 
together, and they got their ships ready and sailed on the 
sea. The Tsarevna with her husband received her 
guests with honour, and they began to celebrate banquets 
and to be joyous. The Tsars and the Tsarevichi, the 
Kings and the Korolevichi, gazed at the palace and the 
gardens and wondered. They had never seen such 
wealth. Then some of them wondered when they saw 
the ducks and drakes, every one of them worth half a 

So the guests were fed and bethought themselves of 
going home, but before ever they had got to the haven, 
swift hunters precursed them, saying, " Our master bids 
you turn back again ; he wishes to hold secret counsel 
with you." 

So the Tsars and Tsarevichi, the Kings and Koro- 
levichi, were turning back, when the master came to 
meet them and said : " Oh ye good folk, one of my 
ducks has gone : has any one of you taken it ? " 

" Why are you making a vain quest ? " the Tsars and 
Tsarevichi, the Kings and Korolevichi answered ; " this 
would be an unguestly act. Search us all over. If 
you find the duck on any one of us do with him 


what you will ; if you do not, let your own head pay 
for it." 

" I will," said the master. And he placed them all in 
a row and searched them ; and, as soon as he had come 
to the father of the Tsarevna, he said quietly : 

"At the pike's good pleasure. 
At God's good measure — 

under the lappet of the kaftan of this Tsar, let the duck 
be found." So he went and lifted his kaftan and found 
the duck tied to the lappet ; one feather was of gold, 
one was of silver. 

Then all the Tsars and Tsarevichi, Kings and Koro- 
levichi cried out fiercely, " Ho ! ho ! ho ! what a deed ! 
are Tsars turning into thieves ? " 

Then the Tsarevna's father swore by everything holy 
that as to thieving there had never been such an idea in 
his head. And he had no idea how the duck had come 
to him. 

" That is a fine tale ; it was found on you ; you must 
be guilty." 

Then the Tsarevna came out, burst upon her father, 
and acknowledged that she was his daughter whom he 
had given away to the poor peasant in marriage and had 
put into a barrel. " Bdtyushka"'^ she said, " you would 
not then believe my words, and now you have acknow- 
ledged yourself that it is possible to be guilty without 

And she told him how it had all arisen. And after that 
they began to live, and Hved all together and Hved all 
for good and forgot bygones. 

1 Father: 


An archimandrite one day got up for matins ; and, 
whilst laving his hands, saw an unclean spirit in the 
Holy Water, seized him and crossed him. 

The devil besought him : " Let me go. Father, I will 
do you any service I can ; I will, I will ! " 

So the Archimandrite said : " Will you take me to 
Jerusalem between High Mass and matins ? " 

The Archimandrite released him, and after matins was 
transported to Jerusalem, and was back in time for High 
Mass. Then inquiries were set going how this might 
be, and every one was astonished how he could get to 
Jerusalem and back so fast. They asked him about it, 
and he told them the story. 



The Volga and the Vazuza had a long argument whether 
who was the wiser and the stronger and the more honour- 
able of the two. They contended and quarrelled, and 
could not decide it. So they resolved at last : " Let us 
both go to sleep at the same time, and the one which 
wakes up earlier and first reaches the Khvalynsk Sea is 
wiser and stronger and the more honourable." 

So the Volga went to sleep, and so did the Vazuza. 

But at night the Vazuza got up quietly and ran away 
from the Volga ; she took the next nearest way and 
flowed off. 

When the Volga woke up she went neither hurriedly 
nor lagging, but in an ordinary fashion. At Zubtsov she 
overtook the Vazuza, and looked so threatening that the 
Vazuza was frightened, and owned she was the younger 
daughter, and begged the Volga to take her in her arms 
into the Sea of Khvalynsk. 

And, to this day, the Vazuza wakes up in the spring 
before the Volga, and wakes the Volga up out of her 
winter sleep. 



Once upon a time there was a merchant who had three 
daughters : it so happened he had one day to go to 
strange countries to buy wares, and so he asked his 
daughters, " What shall I bring you from beyond the 
seas? " 

The eldest asked for a new coat, and the next one also 
asked; for a new coat ; but the youngest one only took a 
sheet of paper and sketched a flower on it : " Bring me, 
bdtfushka,^ 3l flower like this ! " 

So the merchant went and made a long journey to 
foreign kingdoms, but he could never see such a flower. 
So he came back home, and he saw on his way a splendid 
lofty palace with watch-towers, turrets, and' a garden. He 
went a walk in the garden;, and you cannot imagine how 
many trees he saw and flowers, every flower fairer than the 
other flowers. And then he looked and he saw a single one 
Uke the one which his daughter had sketched. " Oh," 
he said, " I wiU tear off and bring this to my beloved 
daughter : evidently there is nobody here to watch me." 
So, he ran up and broke it off, and as soon as he had done 
it, in that very instant a boisterous wind arose and 
thunder thundered, and a. fearful monster stood in front 
of him, a formless, winged snake with three heads. 

" How dared you play the master in my garden ! " 
cried the snake to the merchant. " Why have you 
broken off a blossom f " 

The merchant was frightened, fell on his knees and 
besought pardon. 

» Father. 


" Very well," said the snake, " I will forgive you, but 
on condition that whoever meets you first, when you 
reach home, you must give me for all eternity ; and, if 
you deceive me, do not forget, nobody can ever hide 
himself from me : I shall find you wherever you are." 

The merchant agreed to the condition and came back 

And the youngest daughter saw him from the window 
and ran out to meet him. Then the merchant hung his 
head, looked at his beloved daughter, and began to shed 
bitter tears. 

" What is the matter with you ? why are you weeping, 
bdtyushka ? " 

He gave her the blossom and told what had befallen 

" Do not grieve, bdtyushka" said the youngest 
daughter, " it is God's gift : perhaps I shall fare well. 
Take me to the snake." 

So the father took her away, set her in the palace, 
bade farewell, and set out home. 

Then the fair maiden, the daughter of the merchant, 
went in the different rooms, and beheld everywhere gold 
and velvet ; but no one was there to be seen, not a single 
human Soul. 

Time went by and went by, and the fair damsel 
became hungry and thought, " Oh, if I could only have 
something to eat ! " But before ever she had thought, 
in front of her stood a table, and on the table were dishes 
and drinks and refreshments : the only thing that was 
not there was birds' milk. Then she sat down to the 
table, drank and ate, got up, and it had all vanished. 

Darkness now came on, and the merchant's daughter 
went into the bedroom, wishing to lie down and sleep. 
Then a boisterous wind rustled round and the three- 
headed snake appeared in front of her. 

" Hail, fair maiden ! put my bed outside this door ! " 


So the fair maiden put the bed outside the door and 
herself lay on the bedstead. 

,She awoke in the morning, and again in the entire 
house there was not a single soul to be seen. And it all 
went well with her : whatever she wished for appeared 
on the spot. 

In the evening the snake flew to her and ordered, 
" Now, fair maiden, put my bed next to your bedstead." 

She then laid it next to 'her bedstead, and the night 
went by, and the maiden awoke, and again there was 
never a soul in the palace. 

And for the third time the snake came in the evening 
and said, " Now, fair maiden, I am going to lie with you 
in the bedstead." 

The merchant's daughter was fearfully afraid of lying 
on a single bed with such a formless monster. But she 
could not help herself, so she strengthened her heart and 
lay down with him. 

In the morning the serpent said to her, " If you are 
now weary, fair maiden, go to your father and your 
sisters : spend a day with them, and in the evening come 
back to me. But see to it that you are not late. If you 
are one single minute late I shall die of grief." 

" No, I shall not be late," said the maiden, the mer- 
chant's daughter, and descended the steps ; there was 
a barouche ready for her, and she sat down. That very 
instant she arrived at her father's courtyard. 

Then the father saw, welcomed, kissed her, and asked 
her, " How has God been dealing with you, my beloved 
daughter ? Has it been well with you ? " 

" Very well, father ! " And she started telling of all 
the wealth there was in the palace, how the snake loved 
her, hovy whatever she only thought of was in that in- 
stant fulfilled. 

The sisters heard, and did not know what to do out of 
sheer envy. 


Now the day was ebbing away, arid the fair maiden, 
made ready to go back, and was bidding farewell to her 
father and her sisters, saying, " This is the time I must 
go back : I was bidden keep to my term." 

But the envious sisters rubbed onions on their eyes and 
made as though they were weeping : " Do not go away, 
sister ; stay until to-morrow." 

She was very sorry for her sisters, and stayed one day 

In the morning she bade farewell to them aU and went 
to the palace. When she arrived it was as empty as before. 
She went into the garden, and she saw the serpent lying 
dead in the pond ! He had thrown himself for sheer 
grief into the water. 

" Oh, my God, what have I done ! " cried out the 
fair maiden, and she wept bitter tears, ran up to the 
pond, hauled the snake out of the water, embraced one 
head and kissed it with all her might. And the snake 
trembled, and in a minute turned into a good youth. 

" I thank you, fair maiden," he said. " You have 
saved me from the greatest misfortune. I am no snake, 
but an enchanted Prince." 

Then they went back to the merchant's house, were 
betrothed, lived long, and lived for good and happy 


A Cossack was going on his road and way, and he arrived 
in the sleepy forest, and in that forest, in a glade, stood 
a hayrick. So the Cossack stood in front just to have a 
little rest, lay down in front of the hayrick and smoked 
his pipe, went on smoking, smoking, and never saw that 
a spark had fallen into the hay. After his rest he again 
mounted his horse and went on his road. 

. But he had gone only some dozen paces, when a flame 
blazed out and lit up the wood. Then the Cossack 
looked back steadily, and saw the hayrick burning, and 
in the middle of the flame a fair maiden standing, saying 
in a threatening voice, " Cossack, good man, save me 
from death ! " 

" How shall I save you ? I see flames all around and 
cannot get up to you." 

" Thrust your pike into the flame : I will jump out 
on to it." 

So the Cossack thrust his. pike into the flame and leapt 
to avoid the great heat. Then the fair maiden turned 
into a snake, crept on to the pike, crawled round the 
Cossack's neck, coiled herself round his neck three times 
and put her tail between her mouth. The Cossack was 
frightened and had no notion what he should do or 
what should come to "him. 

Then the snake spoke to him in a human voice : " Do 
not be frightened, good youth ; bear me on your neck 
for seven years, and go to seek the Kingdom of Tin : 
when you arrive in that kingdom stay there and live 
there seven years more, and do not ever leave it : if you 
serve this service you shall be happy." 



So the Cossack went to look for the Kingdom o£ Tin ; 
much time went hy, much water flowed in the river, 
and at the end of the seventh year he at last reached a 
steep mountain, and on that mountain stood a castle of 
tin, and around the castle was a lofty white stone wall. 
So he climbed up the mountain, and the wall opened 
in front of him, and he arrived at a broad courtyard. 
At that same instant the snake disentangled herself from 
his neck, struck the grey earth, and turned into the 
maiden of his soul, vanished from his eyes as though she 
had never been there. 

The Cossack stabled his horse, went into the palace, 
and began looking at the rooms : there were looking- 
glasses all about, silver and velvet, but never a soul of a 
man to be seen. " Ah ! " thought the Cossack, " Wher- 
ever have I got to ? Who will give me food and drink ? 
I must here die of thirst and hunger." And whilst he 
was thinking this, lo and behold ! in front of him stood 
a covered table, and on the table was food and drink, 
enough for all. So he tasted what he would, drank what 
he would, strengthened his body, and thought of mount- 
ing on his horse to survey. He went into the stable, and 
the horse was standing in the stall and was eagerly 
devouring oats. 

Well, this affair had turned out very well after all ; 
possibly he might go on living without any suffering. 
So the Cossack stayed for a very, very long time in the 
tin castle, until he became wearied unto death : it might 
be a joke, but he was always alone and could never 
exchange as much as a whisper with anybody. So, from 
sheer grief, he drank himself drunk and thought he would 
go out into the free world. But wherever he ventured 
forth there were lofty walls, with neither an entrance 
nor an exit. So he grew very angry, and the doughty 
youth took his cudgel, went into the palace and began 
knocking about the looking-glasses and mirrors, tearing 


up the velvet, breaking the chairs, shattering the silver. 
Possibly, he thought, the owner might come and let him 
free. But no, never a soul appeared ! 

Then the Cossack lay down to sleep. Next day he 
woke up, went for a walk and a saunter, and he thought 
he would like to have some food, and he looked around : 
there was nothing to be had. " Ah ! " he thought, " The 
slave rains on herself the blows if unfaithfully she mows. 
I smoked to death yesterday, and to-day I must starve." 
He had despaired. And that very instant food and drink 
stood ready for him. 

Three days went by : the Cossack slept in the morn- 
ing, and then looked out of the window, and his good 
horse stood saddled at the steps. What did that mean ? 
So he washed and dressed, prayed to God, took his long 
pike and went into the open courtyard. 

Suddenly, from somewhere or other, the fair maiden 
appeared and said, " Health to you, good youth : the 
seven years are over. You saved me from my perdition 
and my end. Now, listen to me : I am a king's daughter ; 
Koshchey the Deathless fell in love with me, took me 
away from my father and from my mother, wished to 
marry me, but I always laughed at him. Then he grew 
angry, and he turned me into a wild snake : I thank you 
for your long service. We wiU fare forth to my father's 
court ; he wiU wish to reward you with gold from his 
treasury and with precious stones : but do you take 
nothing of them. Simply ask for the keg which is lying 
in his cellar." 

" But what is the use of that ? " 

" If you turn that keg to the right a palace appears 
forthwith, if you turn it to the left, it vanishes." 

" Very well," said the Cossack. 

So he mounted his steed, set himself and the fair 
princess on it, and the lofty walls moved away from 
before him, and they set out on their road and way. 


May be long, may be short, at last they arrived at the 
kingdom named : the king saw his daughter and was 
overjoyed, began expressing his thanks and gave the 
Cossack sacks full of gold and pearls : but the doughty 
youth answered him, " I desire neither gold nor pearls, 
give me as a remembrance of you simply the keg which 
is lying in your cellar." 

" You ask for a great gift, brother ; but I must do 
what you say, for my daughter is dearer to me than all 
else that I have here. I do not regret the barrel ; take 
it and go with God." 

So the Cossack took the royal gift and set out to roam 
through the white world. He went on and on, and he 
met an ancient old man on the way : the old man an- 
swered him, " Give me food and drink, good youth ! " 

So the Cossack leapt from his horse, undid the keg, 
turned it to the right, and a miraculous palace appeared 
on the spot : both of them went into the painted rooms 
and sat on covered chairs. " Ho, ye my faithful ser- 
vants ! " cried out the Cossack, " give food and drink 
to this guest." Before ever the words were uttered, the 
servants brought an entire ox and three casks of beer. 

The old man set to and gourmandised, making the 
best of it. He ate the entire ox, and he drank the three 
casks of beer, croaked and said, " That was a small gift : 
still I cannot help it. I thank you for the bread and 
salt." Then they went out of the palace, and the Cossack 
turned his keg to the left, and there was no sign of the 

" Let us exchange," said the old man to the Cossack. 
" I wiU give you a sword, and you give me the keg : what 
is the use of the keg to you ? This is a sword which slays 
of itself : you need only wave it, and however incalcu- 
lable the force may be it wiU slay them aU in front of it. 
You see that forest ? Shall I show you what it can do ? ". 
Then the old man drew his sword and said to it, " Set to 


work, self-slaying sword, and despoil all the dreamy 
forest." So the sword flew out of his hands, cut down 
the trees, and laid them all down in regular boards. 
Then, after it had cut them down, it came back to its 

So the Cossack did not long bethink him, but gave 
the old man his keg and took the self-slaying sword, 
waved the sword, and killed the old man. Then he tied 
the keg to his saddle, mounted his horse, and thought he 
would go back to the King. But just then a terrible 
enemy was besieging the capital city of that King, and 
the Cossack saw an incalculable host and array, waved 
his sword and said, " Self -slaying sword, serve me a 
service and spill the hostile host." And then there was 
a fine sight — ^heads flying about, blood flowing freely — 
and within one hour all the field was covered with 

Then the King came out, kissed him, and decided to 
give him the fair princess to wife. 

It was a gorgeous wedding. I was there at the wed- 
ding. I drank mead and wine: it flowed up to my 
whiskers, but it never entered my mouth. 


In a certain kingdom, in a certain State, there once 
lived a rich peasant, and he had much money and bread ; 
he used to lend money on interest to the poor husband- 
men of his village. Aixd, if he gave corn, then it had to 
be returned in fuU in the summer ; and in addition to 
that, for every three pecks the debtor had to work two 
days on the lord's field. 

And one day it happened that there was a festival in 
the Church, and the peasants began brewing beer for 
the feast. But in this village there was a peasant who 
was so poor that there was no poorer to be found. And 
there he sat in the evening with his wife on the eve of 
the festival in his little hut. He was thinking : " What 
shall I do ? All the good folk are now gadding about 
making merry, and we have not a crust of bread in our 
house. I might have gone to the rich man and asked 
him for a loan ; but he would not trust me. Now what 
shall I do, I so woebegone ! " And he thought and 
thought, and he left the bench and stood in front of the 
icon, and sighed a heavy sigh. " Lord," he said, " have 
forgiveness on my sins, for I cannot buy any oil with 
which to fill the lamp in front of Thy icon for Thy 

And after a little while, an old man came into the hut. 

" Hail, master," he said. " Hail, old man ! Can I 
stay the night here f " 

" If you will. Stay the night if you like. But, 
Gossip, I have not a crust of bread in my house, and I 
cannot feed you." 



"Never mind, master, I have three crusts of bread, 
and meat : give me a ladle of water, I will take a taste 
of the loaf and a sup of the water, and we shall be 

So the old man sat down on the bench, and spoke. 

" Why are you so sad, master ? What has made you 
melancholy ? " 

" Old man," the master answered, " why should I 
not be heavy ? — ^it is God's gift. We were so looking 
forward to the feast. All the good folk are making merry 
and rejoicing, but we are clean swept out. All around 
me and within there is emptiness." 

" Well, be of good cheer," said the old man ; " go to 
the rich peasant and ask whatever you require of him as 
a debt." 

" No, I cannot go, for he will not give it." 

" Go," the old man insisted. " Fear nothing. Ask 
him for three pecks of malt, and we will brew the beer 

" But it is so late. How shall we brew beer ? — ^the 
feast is to be to-morrow." 

" Do what I say. Go to the rich peasant and ask for 
the three pecks of malt. He will give it you at once. 
No, he cannot refuse it. And to-morrow you shall have 
beer so good at the feast — better than any you shall 
find throughout the village." 

What could the poor man say ? He got up, took his 
sack under his arm, and went up to the rich peasant. 

He went into the rich man's izbd,^ bowed down, 
besought him by his name and his father's name, and 
asked him for the loan of three pecks of malt, as he 
wanted to brew beer for the festival. 

" Why did you not think of it sooner ? " the rich man 
replied. " How can you do it now, for this is the eve of 
the festival ? " 

> Hut. 


"Never mind, Gossip," the poor man replied; "if 
you will be so good, I and my wife wiU still brew some- 
thing together, and can drink together and celebrate 
the festival." 

The rich man gave him three pecks of malt and poured 
them into his sack. The poor man lifted the sack on to 
his shoulders and went home and recounted how things 
had gone. 

" Now, master," his old guest said, " you shall have a 
feast. Is there a well at your door ? " 

" There is," said the peasant. 

" Well, we will go to your well and brew the beer. 
Bring your sack and follow me." 

So they went out to the courtyard up to the well. 

" Pour it all in there," the old man said. 

" Why should we hurl aU this good stuff into the well ? " 
the master replied, " for there are only three pecks, and 
it will aU be thrown away for nothing." 

" It is the best thing you can do." 

" We shall not do any good — ^we shall only sully the 

" Listen to me, and do what I say : there is nothing 
to fear." 

So what could he do ? He simply had to pour all his 
malt into the well. 

" Now," the old man said, " formerly there was water 
in the well, and to-morrow it will be beer. Now, master, 
we will go into the izbd^ and he down to sleep, for the 
morning is wiser than the evening, and to-morrow you 
wiil have such good beer for dinner that one glass will 
make you drunk." 

So they waited until the morning, and then when 
dinner-time came round the old man said : " Well, 
master, get as many tubs as you can, and stand them 
round the well and fill them all full of beer, and then 

1 Hut. 


call every one in to drink, and you shall have a really 
riotous feast." 

And the peasant went and called all his neighbours 
and asked for tubs. 

" What do you want all these tubs and pails for ? " 
they asked him. 

" Oh, I really want them at once, as I have not vessels 
enough to hold my beer." 

And the neighbours whispered : " What on earth does 
he mean ? Is the good fellow gone mad ? There is not 
a crust of bread in his house, and he is still chattering 
about beer." 1 

Well, somehow or other, he got twenty pails and tubs 
together, put them all round the well, and began to 
haul them up. And the beer turned out so fine, finer 
than ever anybody could think or guess, or any tale 
could tell. And he filled all the tubs to the very brim, 
and the well was as full as ever. And he began to cry 
out aloud and to call guests to his door. 

" Come to me, good Christians, and drink strong 
beer here, such beer as you never saw in your hfe ! " 

And the people looked round. " What on earth was 
he up to ? Surely you take water out of a well, and he 
calls it beer ? Anyhow, let's go and see, whatever 
knavery it may be." So they all rushed up to the tubs, 
and they began to ladle it out and to look at it. Evi- 
dently, after all, it must be beer. And they said: 
" Such beer we have never drunk before ! " His court- 
yard was full of the village folk. And the master was 
not at a loss to ladle beer out of the well for himself, 
and treated all of his guests right royally. 

When the rich peasant heard of this, he came to the 
poor man's courtyard, tasted the beer, and began to ask 
the poor man : " Please to tell me how ever you managed 
to make such magnificent beer ? " 

" Oh, there was not any cleverness about it," the poor 


man answered. " It is the simplest thing in the world. 
When I took your three pecks from you I simply went 
and threw them into the well. Formerly it was water, 
and in a single night it aU became beer." 

" Well," the rich man thought, " I will go home and 
I will do the same." 

So he went home, and he ordered all of his servants to 
take all of the best malt out of his granaries, and throw 
it into the well. And his husbandmen threw ten sacks 
of malt into the well. 

" Now," the rich man said, and rubbed his hands, 
" I shall have finer beer than the poor man." 

So the next time he went out to his courtyard and up 
to the well, sampled it, and looked. It was water before, 
and it was still water ; only it was rather dirtier. " I 
don't quite understand this : I put too little malt into 
it, so I wiU add some more," the rich man thought, and 
he ordered his workmen to put five more sacks into the 
well. They were aU thrown in, and it was aU no good : 
he had simply wasted all of his malt. 

And when the feast had passed by the water in the 
poor peasant's well was as pure as ever, just as if nothing 
had happened. 

Once again the old man came to the poor peasant and 
said : " Listen, master, have you sown your corn this 
year ? " 

" No, grandfather, I have not sown a single grain." 

" Well, now go to the rich man and ask him for three 
pecks of every kind of corn. We wiU eat with you in 
the fields, and we wiU then sow the corn." 

" How shall we sow it now ? " the poor man answered. 
"It is now the very midst of winter and the frost is 

" Never mind about that. Go and do as I say. I 
brewed you beer, and I will sow you corn." 

So the poor man went once more to the rich peasant 


and asked him as a debt for three pecks of every kind 
of corn. When he came back he told his aged guest : 

" Here it all is, grandfather." 

So they went outside to the fields, scattered it accord- 
ing to its nature on the peasant's lots ; and lo and behold ! 
they went and threw all the grains on the white snow — 
every single grain. 

The old man said to the peasant : " Go home and wait 
until the summer ; you will have bread enough." 

So the poor man went to his hut and became the 
laughing-stock of the village for sowing his corn in the 
winter. " Look at him ! What a fool he is ! He has 
forgotten when he ought to sow : he didn't think of 
sowing in the autumn." He never minded, but waited 
for the spring, and the warm days came, and the snow 
melted, and the grain sprouts appeared. 

" Come now," the poor man said, " I will go and see 
what my stretch of land looks like." So he went to his 
stretch of land and saw such splendid blades of corn, at 
which any soul might rejoice. And on all the acres of 
the others it was not half as fine. " Glory be to God ! " 
the peasant cried ; " I am now looking up ! " 

Soon the time of harvest came by, and all good folk 
began to gather their corn, and the old man also went 
and busied himself, and called his wife to help him. 
And he could not get through, but had to summon for 
the harvesting all the husbandmen, and to give half of 
his corn away ; and all the peasants were astonished at 
the poor man, for he had not sown his land, but had 
scattered the seeds in the winter and his corn had been 
splendid. The poor peasant had put his affairs straight 
and had managed to live without any trouble ; and 
whatever he required for his household, he went into 
the town, sold quarters and quarters of corn, and 
bought whatever he required, and repaid the rich, 
peasant his debt in full. 


Then the rich peasant began to think : " Heigh-ho ! 
I shall also begin sowing in the winter ; possibly I shall 
have corn as fine." So he waited to the very day on 
which the poor peasant in the previous year had sown 
his corn, went and took from his bins quarters of different 
sorts of corn, went out into the fields and scattered it all 
on the snow. He covered the fields entirely, but a storm 
arose at night, and mighty winds blew, and wafted all 
the corn from his land away on to the other fields. 

Then there came a fine spring, and the rich man went 
to his fields and saw them bare, and saw that his own 
land was naked and waste ; there was not a single blade 
that appeared, and on aU the other strips where there 
had been no ploughing and no sowing, you never saw 
such a fine green crop ! Then the rich man began to 
think : " Lord, I have spent much on corn, and it has 
all been in vain, and my debtors have all neither ploughed 
nor sown, and their corn grows of itself. Needs I must 
be a great sinner ! " 


Once upon a time, in a wretched village, there lived two 
peasants, who were own brothers. One was poor, how- 
ever, and the other rich. The rich man settled in the 
town, built himself a fine house, and became a merchant. 
Sometimes the poor brother had not a crumb o£ bread 
and the children (each of whom was smaller than the 
others) cried and begged for something to eat. From 
morning to evening the peasant trudged away like a fish 
on ice, but it was all of no good. 

One day he said to his wife : " I am going into the 
town, in order to beg my brother to help me." 

So he came to the rich man and asked him : " Brother, 
help me in my sorrow, for my wife and children sit at 
home without any bread and are starving." 

" If you will work for me this week I will help 

What was the poor fellow to do ? He set to work, 
cleaned out the courtyard, groomed the horses, carried 
the water, hewed the wood. When the week had gone 
by the rich man gave him a loaf of bread. " There, you 
have a reward for your pains." 

" I thank you for it," said the poor man, and bowed 
down, and was going home. 

" Stay," the rich brother said to him : " Come with 
your wife to-morrow and be my guests. To-morrow is 
my name-day," 

" Oh, brother, how can I ? As you know, merchants 
who wear boots and furs come to see you, whilst I have 
only bast shoes, and I only have my grey coat." 



" Never mind ! Come to-morrow ; I shall still have 
room for you." 

" Good brother ! I will come." 

So the poor man went home, gave his wife the loaf of 
bread, and said : " Listen, wife. To-morrow you and 
I are to be guests." 

" Who has asked us ? " 

" My brother. To-morrow is his name-day." 

" All right, let's go." 

Next day they got up and went into the town. They 
came to the rich man's door, greeted him, and sat down 
on a bench. And at table there were many guests, and 
the master of the house entertained them all magnifi- 
cently. Only he forgot the poor brother and his wife, 
and he gave them nothing. They sat there, and could 
only look at the others eating and drinking. When the 
meal was over the guests rose from table and bowed 
their thanks to the master and mistress, and the poor 
man also stood up from his bench and bowed down deep 
before his brother ; and the guests went home drunken 
and merry, noisily singing songs. 

But the poor man went home with an empty stomach. 
" We too must sing a song ! " he said to his wife. 

" Oh, you fool, the others sing, for they have had a 
good dinner and have drunk well. Why should we 
sing ? " 

" Well, after all, I was a guest at my brother's name- 
day, and I am ashamed of going back so silently. If I 
sing they will all think, anyhow, that I have been served 
as well." 

" Sing if you will ! I shall not ! " 

So the peasant sang and sang, and he heard two voices. 
So he stopped and asked his wife : " Are you helping me 
to sing with a thin voice ? " 

" What are you thinking of ? I was doing nothing 
of the sort." 


" What was it, then ? " 

" I don't know," said the wife. " Sing. I will listen." 

So he went on singing by, himself, and again the two 
voices were heard. So he stayed still, and said, " Sorrow, 
are you aiding me to sing ? " 

And Sorrow answered : " Yes, I am aiding you." 

" Now, Sorrow, we will go on together." 

" Yes, I will ever remain with you." 

So the peasant went home. But Sorrow called him 
into the inn. 

He said : " I have no money." 

" Never mind, Hodge ; what do you want money 
for ? " Why, you still have half of a fur ; what is the 
use of it ? It will soon be summer, and you will be no 
longer requiring it. We will go into the inn and drink 
it up." 

So the peasant and Sorrow went into the inn, and 
they drank up the half-fur. Next day Sorrow groaned 
and said he had a headache, a fearful headache, owing 
to last night's treat. And he enticed the peasant once 
more to bib wine. 

" But I have no money ! " 

" There is no need of money. Take your sleigh and 
your carriage ; that will be sufficient for us ! " 

It was not any good. The peasant could not escape 
Sorrow. So he took his sleigh and his carriage, drove 
them to the inn, and drank them with Sorrow. And in 
the morning Sorrow groaned yet further, and reduced 
the master to further drinking ; and the peasant drank 
away his ploughshare and his plough. 

One month had gone by, and he had drunk all his 
property away, pledged his izbd^ to a neighbour, and 
spent all the money in the inn. Then Sorrow came to 
him once more. " Let us go to the inn ! " 

" No, Sorrow, I have no more." 

1 Hut. 


" Why, your wife has two sarafans, one will be suffi- 
cient for her." 

So the peasant took the sarafan, drank it up ; and 
he thought : " Now I have not anything left, neither 
house, nor clothes, nor anything else for myself or my 
wife ! » 

Next morning Sorrow woke up and saw that there 
was nothing more he could take. So he said : " Master, 
what is your wish ? Go to your neighbour and borrow 
a pair of oxen and a carriage." 

So the peasant went to his neighbour and said, " Can 
you lend me a car and a pair of oxen for a short time, 
and I will do a week's work for them ? " 

" What do you want with them ? " 

" To fetch wood out of the forest." 

" Well, then, take them, but don't overload them." 

" Oh, of course not, uncle ! " 

So the peasant took the oxen, went with Sorrow into 
the carriage, and drove into the field, 

" Do you know the big stone in this field ? " Sorrow 

" Oh, yes ! " 

" Well, then, drive up to it." 

So they arrived at the stone and dismounted. Sorrow 
bade the peasant lift up the stone, and he aided him in 
the work. Under the stone there was a hoUow filled with 

" Now, what do you see ? " said Sorrow. " Load it 
all up quickly on to the coach." 

So the peasant set to work sharply, loaded all the gold 
up, to the very last ducats. And when he noticed there 
was not anything left, he said, " Sorrow, is there no more 
gold there ? " 

" I don't see any." 

"Down there in the corner I see something glitter- 


" No ; I cannot see anything." 

" Get down into the pit, and you will see it." 

So Sorrow went into the pit, and as soon as he was in 

the peasant cast the stone in. " Things will now go 

better," said the peasant, " for if I were to take you 

back with me, Sorrow, you would drink up all of this 

■ money ! " 

So the peasant went home, and he poured out the 
gold in the cellar. He took the oxen back to his neigh- 
bour, and he began to set up house again, bought a 
wood, built a big house, and became twice as rich 
as his brother. Soon he rode to the town, in order 
to invite his brother and his sister-in-law to his own 

" Whatever do you mean f " said the rich brother, 
" why, you have nothing to eat, and you are giving 
festivals ! " 

" I had nothing to eat before, but I am now as well 
off as you are." 

" All right ; I will come." 

So next day the rich man, with his wife, went to the 
name-day ; and they .saw that the poor starveling had 
a big new house, much finer than many merchants' 
houses. And the peasant gave them a rich dinner, with 
all kinds of meat and drink. 

So the rich man asked his brother : " Tell me, how 
did you become so rich ? " 

Then the peasant told him the bare truth — ^how 
Sorrow had followed on his heels and how he and his 
sorrow had gone into the inn, and he had drunk away 
all his goods and chattels to the last shred, until he had 
only his soul left in his body ; and then how Sorrow 
had showed him the treasure-trove in the field, and he 
had thus freed himself from the thraldom of Sorrow. 

And the rich man became envious and thought : 
*' I will go into the field and will lift the stone up. 


Sorrow will rend my brother's body asunder, so that he 
cannot then brag of his riches in front of me." 

So he left his wife behind and drove into the field, to 
the big stone. He whirled it off to the side and bowed 
down to see what was under the stone. And he had 
hardly bowed down, when Sorrow sprang up and sat 
on his shoulders. 

" O ! " Sorrow cried. " You wanted to leave me here 
under the earth. Now I shall never depart from you." 

" Listen, Sorrow : I was not the person who locked 
you up here ! " 

" Who was it, then, if it was not you ? " 

" My brother. I came in order to set you free." 

" No, you are lying and deceiving me again. This 
time it shall not come off." 

So Sorrow sat fast on the wretched merchant's 
shoulders. He brought Sorrow with him home, and his 
household went from bad to worse. Sorrow began early 
in the morning enticing the merchant into the beer- 
house day after day, and much property was drunk 

" This life is absolutely unbearable ! " thought the 
merchant. " I have done Sorrow too good a service. 
I must now set myself free from him. How shall I ? " 
So he thought and he thought it out. He went into his 
courtyard, cut two oak wedges, took a new wheel, and 
knocked one wedge from one end into the axle. He went 
up to Sorrow. " Now, Sorrow, must you lie about Kke 
that ? " 

" What should I be doing ? What else is there to do ? " 

" Come into the courtyard ; let us play hide-and- 

This suited Sorrow down to the ground, and at first 
the merchant hid and Sorrow found him at once. 

Then Sorrow had to hide. " You will not find me so 
easily : I caj; hide myself in any crack." 


" What ! " said the merchant. " Why, you could 
never get into this wheel, much less into a crack ! " 

" What ! I could not get into the wheel ? Just look 
how I manage to hide myself in it ! " 

So Sorrow crept into the wheel, and the merchant 
took the other oak wedge and drove it into the hub from 
the other side, and threw the wheel, with Sorrow inside, 
into the river. Sorrow was drowned, and the merchant 
lived as before. 


Once there lived an old man and an old dame, and they 
only had one little son, and you can't imagine how they 
loved him. 

One day Ivashechko asked his mother and father, 
" Please may I go and catch fish ? " 

" What nonsense ! you're much too little yet : you 
might get drowned, and that would be a fine story." 

" Oh, no, I won't get drowned. I'll go and catch you 
a fish : let me go ! " 

So grandfather gave him a little white shirt to wear, 
with a big red sash, and off he went. Soon he was sitting 
in a boat and singing : 

Little boat, little boat, sail far away, 
O'er the blue water away and away. 

The little skiff sailed far and far away and Ivashechko 
started fishing. Soon, how long I don't know, up came 
the mother to the shore and said : 

Ivashechko, Ivashechko, my little son. 
Up to the shore let your little boat run : 
Here is some drink and here is a bun ! 

And Ivashechko said : 

Little boat, little boat, sail to the shore : 
My mother's calling me. 

The little skiff sailed up to the shore ; the woman took 
the fish and fed her little boy, changed his shirt and sash 



and sent him out again to catch fish. And there he sat 
on the boat and sang : 

Little boat, little boat, sail far away, 
O'er the blue water away and away. 

The little boat sailed out so far away, and Ivashechko 
started fishing. Soon the grandfather came to the shore 
and called his son : 

Ivashechko, Ivashechko, my little son, 
Up to the shore let your little boat run : 
Here is some drink and here is a bun ! 

And Ivashechko said : 

Little boat, little boat, sail to the shore : 
For father's calling me ! 

The little skiff sailed up to the shore ; the grandfather 
took the fish and fed his little boy, changed his shirt and 
sash and sent him out again to catch fish. And there he 
sat on the boat and sang : 

Little boat, little boat, sail far away, 
O'er the blue water away and away. 

Now the wise woman saw how his grandparents called 
Ivashechko, and wanted to get hold of the boy. So she 
came to the shore and called out : 

Ivashechko, Ivashechko, my little son, 
Up to the shore let your little boat run : 
Here is some drink and here is a bun ! 

But Ivashechko knew the voice, and whose voice it was. 
So he sang : 

Little boat, little boat, sail far away, 

O'er the blue water away and away. 

The Evil Woman's calling me 


So the wise woman saw she must act the mother's 
voice, so she ran to the smith and asked him, " Smith, 
just forge me a thin Httle voice like the one Ivashechko's 
mother has, or I'll eat you up ! " So the smith forged 
the voice just like the mother's. So up she went to the 
shore and sang : 

Ivashechko, Ivashechko, my little son, 
Up to the shore let your little boat run : 
Here is some drink and here is a bun ! 

Ivashechko sailed up ; she took the fish and seized and 
took Ivashechko himself away. When she reached home, 
she told her daughter Alyonka : " Just make my stove 
nice and hot and cook Ivashechko all through. I'll go 
assemble my guests." 

And Alyonka heated the stove very hot and told 
Ivashechko : " Come and sit on the shovel."^ 

" I'm too young and stupid," Ivashechko answered ; 
" show me how to sit on the shovel." 

" Oh, that's easy enough ! " said Alyonka ; and as 
soon as she was on Ivashechko shoved her into the stove, 
slammed the door to and went out of the hut, and 
climbed a great big tall oak tree. 

The wise woman came with her guests and knocked at 
the hut ; there was no reply, no one to open the door. 
" Oh, confound Alyonka ; she must have gone out to 
play." The wise woman climbed up into the window, 
opened the door and admitted her guests, opened the 
oven door, took out Alyonka, who was well cooked, and 
they all sat down to table and ate and ate and drank, and 
at last went out to take a turn on the grass : 

" I am dancing, I am prancing, I have eaten Ivas- 
hechko's flesh." 

Then Ivashechko interrupted from the top of the 

' Shovels are used to insert loaves and pots deep into the oven. 


tree : " Dance and prance ! you have eaten Alyonka's 

" Did I hear anything ? " said the wise woman ; " it 
must have been the leaves rustling," Again the wise 
woman said, " I am dancing, I am prancing, I have eaten 
Ivashechko's flesh ! " 

Ivashechko repeated : " Dance and prance ! you have 
eaten Alyonka's flesh ! " 

So at last she looked up and saw Ivashechko, and began 
to gnaw at the oak-tree on which he was sitting, and 
gnawed and gnawed, broke two of her front teeth, and 
went to the smithy. She called the smith. " Smith, 
smith, make me some iron teeth, or I'll eat you up," 

The smith made her two iron teeth. 

So back she went and gnawed away at the tree, and as 
soon as she had gnawed it through Ivashechko just 
jumped on to the next oak-tree, whilst the one the witch 
had gnawed through fell down. 

Then the wise woman gnawed and gnawed at this 
tree, and gnawed and gnawed, broke the two front teeth, 
and went to the smithy. She called the smith : " Smith, 
smith, make me two more iron teeth, or I'll eat you up." 

The smith made her two more iron teeth. 

So she went back and gnawed away at the tree. 

So Ivashechko did not know what to do. He looked 
up and saw geese and swans flying ; he asked them : 

Geese and swans, geese and swans, 
Waft me away on your pinions : 
Take me home to my mother and father ; 
With my mother and my father 
There is plenty to eat 
And life is sweet ! 

" The next covey may take you," said the birds. 
So he waited!. And another flock came, and he re- 
peated : I 


Geese and swans, geese and swans, 
Waft me away on your pinions : 
Take me home to my mother and father; 
With my mother and my father 
There is plenty to eat 
And life is sweet ! 

" Perhaps the last may take you." 
So he waited on, and as the third flock appeared he 

Geese and swans, geese and swans, 

Waft me away on your pinions : 

Take me home to my mother and father ; 

With my mother and my father 

There is plenty to eat 

And life is sweet ! 

They took him home on their wings up to the hut and 
placed Ivashechko in the loft. 

Early next day the woman cooked a pancake on the 
stove, and whilst cooking it thought of her poor little 
boy Ivan, and said : " Where is my Ivashechko ? I 
dreamed of him last night ! " 

And gaffer said : " I dreamed last night the geese and 
swans were wafting our little Ivan home." 

She had finished the pancake by now, and said: 
" Now, gaffer, we'll share it, this bit for you, this bit 
for me ! " 

" And none for me ! " Ivashechko chimed in. 

" This is for you, and this is for me ! " 

" And none for me ! " 

" What's that noise, gaffer ? " the woman asked. 

The grandfather clattered up into the loft and found 
Ivashechko. They were overjoyed, asked him all about 
everything, and lived a jolly life. 


Once upon a time there was a soldier who had served 
through three campaigns, but had never earned as 
much as an addled egg, and was then put on the retired 
list. Then, as he went on the road marching on and on, 
he became tired and sat down by a lake. And, as he 
rested, he began thinking things out : " Where shall I 
now betake myself, and how shall I feed myself, and 
how the devil shall I enter into any service ? " 

As soon as he had spoken these words a little devil 
rose up at once in front of him and said, " Hail, soldier, 
what do you wish ? Did you just now not say that you 
wished to become one of our servants ? Why, soldier, 
come up and be hired : we will pay you well." 

" What is the work ? " 

" Oh, the work is easy enough : for fifteen years you 
must not shave, you must not have your hair cut, you 
must not blow your nose, and you must not change your 
garb. If you serve this service, then we will go to the 
king, who has three daughters. Two of them are mine, 
but the third shall be yours." 

" Very well," said the soldier, " I will undertake the 
contract ; but I require in return to get anything my 
soul hankers after." 

" It shall be so ; be at peace ; we shall not be in 

" Well, let it befall at once. Carry me at once 
into the capital and give me a pile of money ; you 
know yourself how little of these goods a soldier ever 



So the little devil dashed into the lake, got out a pile 
o£ gold, and instantaneously carried the soldier into the 
great city, and all at once he was there ! 

"What a fool I have been!" said the soldier: "I 
have not done any service, no work, and I now have 
the money ! " So he took a room, never cut his hair, 
never shaved, never wiped his nose, never changed his 
garb, and he lived on and grew wealthy, so wealthy he 
did not know what to do with his money. What was 
he to do with his silver and gold ? " Oh, very well, I 
will start helping the poor : possibly they may pray 
for my soul." So the soldier began distributing alms 
to the needy, to the right and to the left, and he still 
had money over, however much he gave away ! His 
fame spread over the whole kingdom, came to the ears 
of all. 

So the soldier lived for fourteen years, and on the 
fifteenth year the Tsar's exchequer gave out. So he 
summoned the soldier. So the soldier came to him un- 
washed, unshaved, uncombed, with his nose unwiped 
and his dress unchanged. 

" Health, your Majesty ! " 

" Listen, soldier. You, they say, are good to all folks : 
will you lend me some money ? I have not enough to 
pay my troops. If you will I will make you a general at 

" No, your Majesty, I do not wish to be a general ; 
but if you will do me a favour, give me one of your 
daughters as my wife, and you shall have as much money 
as you wish for the Treasury." 

So the king began to think : he was very fond of his 
daughters, but still he could not do anything whatsoever 
without money. " Well," he said, " I agree. Have a 
portrait taken of yourself ; I will show it to my daughters 
and ask which of them will take you." 

So the soldier returned, had the portrait painted, 


which was feature for feature, unshaved, unwashed, 
uncombed, his nose unwiped, and in his old garb, and 
sent it to the Tsar. 

Now, the Tsar had three daughters, and the father 
summoned them and showed them the soldier's portrait. 
He said to the eldest, " Will you go and marry him ? 
He wiU redeem me from very great embarrassment." 

The Tsarevna saw what a monstrous animal had been 
painted, with tangled hair, uncut nails and unwiped 
nose. " I certainly won't ! " she said, " I would sooner 
go to the Devil." And from somewhere or other the 
Devil appeared, stood behind her with pen and paper, 
heard what she said, and entered her soul on his register. 

Then the father asked the next daughter, " Will you 
go and marry the soldier ? " 

" What ! I would rather remain a maiden ; I would 
rather tie myself up with the Devil than go with him." 
So the Devil went and inscribed her soul as well. 

Then the father asked his youngest daughter, and she 
answered, " Evidently this must be my lot : I will go 
and marry him and see what God shall give." 

Then the Tsar was very blithe at this, and he went and 
told the soldier to make ready for the betrothal, and he 
sent him twelve carts to carry the money away. 

Then the soldier made use of his devil : " There are 
twelve carts ; pile them all high at once with gold." 
So the devil ran into the lake and the unholy ones set to 
work. Some of them brought up one sack, some two, 
and they soon filled the carts and sent them to the Tsar, 
into his palace. 

Then the Tsar looked, and now summoned the soldier 
to him every day, sat with him at one table, and ate 
and drank with him. When they got ready for the 
marriage the term of fifteen years was over. So he 
called the little devil and said, " Now my service is over : 
turn me into a youth." 


So the devil cut him up into little bits, threw them 
into a cauldron, and began to brew him — brewed him, 
washed him and collected all his bones, one by one, in 
the proper way, every bone with every bone, every joint 
with every joint, every nerve with every nerve : then 
he sprinkled them with the water of life, and the soldier 
arose, such a fine young man as no tale can tell and no 
pen can write. He then married the youngest Tsarevna, 
and they began to live a merry life of good. 

I was at the wedding : I drank mead and beer. They 
also had wine, and I drank it to the very dregs. 

But the little devil ran back into the lake, for his 
elder hauled him over the coals to answer for what 
he had done with the soldier. " He has served out his 
period faithfully and honourably: he has never once 
shaved himself, nor cut his hair, nor wiped his nose, nor 
changed his clothes." 

Then the elder was very angry. He said, " In fifteen 
years you were not able to corrupt the soldier ! Was 
all the money given in vain ? What sort of a devil will 
you be after this ? " And he had him thrown into the 
burning pitch. 

" Oh no, please, grandfather," said the grandson, " I 
have lost the soldier's soul, but I have gained two others." 

" What ? " 

" Look : the soldier thought of marrying a Tsarevna ; 
the two elder daughters both declined and said they 
would rather marry a devil than the soldier. So there 
they are, and they belong to us." 

So the grandfather-devil approved what the grandson- 
imp had done, and set him free. " Yes," he said, " you 
know your business very well indeed." 


One day St. Peter and Christ were out walking together. 
St. Peter was deep in thought and suddenly said : " How 
fine it must be to be God ! If for half a day I might be 
God, then let me be Peter all the rest of my days ! " 

The Lord smiled. " Your will shall be granted. Be 
God until nightfall." 

They were approaching a village, and saw a peasant 
girl driving a flock of geese. She drove them to the 
meadow, left them there, and hurried back home. • 

" Are you going to leave the geese by themselves ? " 
St. Peter asked. 

" Well, what ? — ^guard them to-day ! It's a feast-day." 

" But who wiU look after the geese ? " 

" God Almighty, maybe," she said, and ran away. 

" Peter, you have heard her," said the Saviour. " I 
should have been delighted to go with you to the village 
feast, but then the geese might come to some harm. 
You are God until nightfall, and must stay and watch 

Poor Peter ! He was angry ; but had to stay and 
guard the geese. He never again wished to be God. 



One day Christ and St. Peter were walking about the 
earth and came to a village. In one house folks were 
singing so finely that Christ stayed to listen, whilst 
St. Peter went on. He turned back and found Christ 
still at His post. St. Peter went on again, and looked 
back : Christ was still listening. St. Peter went on again 
and then glanced back a third time — ^and Christ was still 
listening. Then he went back and heard a splendid folk- 
song in the house, stayed a while, and went on to another 
house where there also was singing. There St. Peter 
stayed, but Christ passed on. St. Peter hurried up and 
looked astounded. 

" What's the matter ? " asked Christ. 

" I could not make out why you stopped to listen to 
folk-songs and passed by the house where hymns were 
being sung." 

" Oh, my dear son," said Christ, " there was a good 
scent there in the one house where folk-songs were being 
sung ; but there was no reverence about the house where 
they were chanting hymns." 



Once a woman was kneading bread, but had forgotten 
to say the blessing. So the demon, Potanka,i ran up 
and sat down in it. Then she recollected she had 
kneaded the dough without saying the blessing, went 
up to it and crossed herself ; and Potanka wanted to 
escape, but could not anyhow, because of the blessing. 
So she put the leavened dough through a strainer and 
threw it out into the street, with Potanka inside. The 
pigs turned him over and over, and he could not escape 
for three whole days. At last he tore his way out through 
a crack in the dough and scampered off without looking 
behind him. 

He ran up to his comrades, who asked him : " Where 
have you been, Potanka ? " 

" May that woman be accursed ! " he said. 

" Who ? " 

" The one who was kneading her dough and had made 
it without saying the proper blessing ; so I ran up and 
squatted in it. Then she laid hold of me and crossed 
herself, and after three livelong days I got out, the pigs 
poking me about and I unable to escape ! Never again 
will I get into a woman's dough." 

* "n" and " /{ " to be sounded distinct as in pin-case. 



Once upon a time there was an old man and an old 
woman who had three daughters. The old man went 
into the loft for some groats, and took them home, but 
there was a hole in the sack, and the groats were ruiming 
and running out of the sack. 

The old man went home, and the old woman asked, 
" Where are the groats ? " But all the groats had 
dripped out. 

So the old man went to collect them, and said, " If 
only the Sun would warm the grain, and the moon show 
its light on it, and Crow Crowson help me to get the 
groats, I would give my eldest daughter to the little 
Sun, and my middle daughter to the Moon, and my 
youngest to Crow Crowson." So the old man set to 
collecting the grain, and the Sun warmed it, and the 
Moon shone on it, and Voron Voronovich helped to 
collect the grain. 

The old man came back home and said to the eldest 
daughter : " You must dress nicely and go out on the 
steps." So she dressed and went out on the steps. And 
the Sun laid hold of her. And he commanded the 
next daughter in the same way to dress herself finely 
and to stand on the steps. So she dressed herself up 
and went out, and the Moon seized and took away the 
second daughter. And he said to the third daughter, 
" Dress yourself prettily and stand on the steps." So 
she dressed herself prettily and stood on the steps, and 
Crow Crowson seized her and carried her away. 

Then the old man said, " I think I might go and visit 



my sons-in-law." So he went to the Sun, and at last he 
arrived there. 

The Sun asked him, " With what shall I regale you ? " 

" Oh, I don't wish for anything ! " 

So the Sun bade his wife make a custard ready. So 
the daughter prepared the custard ; the Sun sat down 
in the middle of the floor, and his wife put the pan on 
him and the custard was soon cooked. So they gave 
the old father refreshment. 

Then the old father went back home and bade his 
wife make him a custard ; and he sat down on the floor 
and commanded her to put the pan with the custard 
on to him. 

" What are you talking about ? Bake it on you ! " 
said the old wife. 

" Go on ! " he replied. " Put it there ; it will be 
baked ! " 

So she put the pan on him, and the custard stood 
there for ages and was not ever cooked, only turned 
sour. It was no good. So in the end the wife put the 
pan into the stove, and this time the custard was baked 
and the old man got something to eat. 

Next day the old man went to stay as a guest with his 
second son-in-law, the Moon, and he arrived. 

And the Moon said, " With what shall I regale 
you ? " 

" I do not wish for anything," said the old man. 

So the Moon got the bath heated ready for him. 

The old man said, " Won't it be very dark in the 
bath ? " 

" No," said the Moon to him, " quite light ; only 
step in." 

So the old man went into the bath, and the Moon 
twisted his little finger into a chink, and it was quite 
light in the bathroom. So the old man steamed himself 
thoroughly, went back home and told his wife to heat 


the bath at night. So the old woman heated it, and he 
sent her there to steam herself. 

" But," she said, " it will be much too dark to steam 
myself ! " 

" Go along ! it will be Hght enough." 

So the old woman went. And the old man saw how 
the Moon had lit the place up for him, and he went 
and bored a tiny hole in the bathroom and thrust his 
finger through it. 

But there was stiU no light in the bath, and the old 
woman shrieked out to him, " Dark ! much too dark ! " 
It was not any good. So she went out, brought a lamp, 
and enjoyed her steam bath. 

On the third day the old man went to Voron Vorono- 
vich. He got there. 

" How shall I regale you ? " asked Voron Voronovich. 

" Oh," said the old man, " I don't want anything ! " 

" Well, let us come and sleep on the perch." 

So the Crow put a ladder up and climbed up there 
with his father-in-law. Crow Crowson settled himself 
comfortably with his head under his wing. But as soon 
as ever the old man dropped oflE to sleep both of them 
fell down and were killed. 


In a certain kingdom in a certain land a Tsar and his 
Tsaritsa lived. They had a son called Ivan Tsarevich, 
and the son had an attendant who was called Katoma 
Dyadka^ of the oaken cap. When the Tsar and the 
Tsaritsa had reached a great age both o£ them became 
ill, and they felt that they would never become hale 
again. So they called Ivan Tsarevich, and said to him r 
" If we die, always follow Katoma's advice, and do well 
by him, then you will live happily ; but if you do not, 
you will falter and fail like a fly." 

Next day the Tsar and the Tsaritsa died. Ivan 
Tsarevich buried his parents, heeded their advice, and 
always took counsel with Katoma before undertaking 
any"" enterprise. 

Very soon, maybe a long time, maybe short, he grew 
up, and he wanted to marry. He said to Katoma : 
" Katoma, Oaken-cap, it is so melancholy living by 
oneself ; I want to marry." 

" Tsarevich," Katoma replied, " you are of the age 
at which you ought to look for a bride : go into the 
great hall, where you will see pictures of all the Koro- 
levny* and Tsarevny in the world. Gaze on them care- 
fully, and select for yourself a bride, one who pleases you, 
and you shall marry her." 

Ivan Tsarevich went into the great hall, looked at the 
pictures, and he was most delighted with Anna the Fair. 
> Uncle : term of affection. " Princesses, 

y 321 


She was so fair that she was fairer than any princess in 
the world. But under her portrait there was a legend : 
" He who can set her a riddle she cannot solve is to marry 
her. Anyone whose riddle she solves dies." 

Ivan Tsarevich read the legend, and was very sad. 
He went up to Katoma and said : " I was in. the great 
haU, and I selected as my bride Anna the Fair : but I 
do not know whether I can woo her." 

" Yes, Tsarevich, it will be hard for you ; if you had 
to go there by yourself, you would never win her. Take 
me. Do what I say, and all will go well." 

Then Ivan Tsarevich begged Katoma Oaken-cap to 
fare there with him, and pledged him his word of honour 
he would obey him in joy and sorrow. 

So they set out on the way to seek Anna the Fair 
Tsarevna. They journeyed for one year, the second 
year, and the third year, and they traversed many lands. 
Ivan Tsarevich said,, " We have been so long on the 
journey and are at last approaching the realms of Anna 
the Fair, and still we have not thought out any riddles 
for her ! " 

" Time enough yet," Katoma replied. 

So they rode on, and Katoma saw a purse lying on the 
road and said : " Ivan Tsarevich, there is your riddle 
for the Tsarevna j give her this riddle to solve : ' Good 
lies on the road : we took the good with good, and set it 
down to our good.' That she will never solve aU her Hfe 
long, for every riddle she has solved at once, for she had 
only to look in her magical book ; and she would then 
have your head cut off." 

At last the Tsarevich and Katoma came to a lofty 
castle, where the fair Tsarevna lived. She was just 
standing at her balcony, and sent her messengers to meet 
them, to know whence they came and what was their will. 

Ivan Tsarevich answered : " I have come from my 
distant realm in order to woo Anna Tsarevna the Fair." 


Thiff she was told, and she bade the Tsarevich be 
introduced into her castle : he was to set her a riddle 
in front o£ all her councillors and her princes and^ koydrs.^ 
" For I have sworn," she said, " to marry him who sets 
me a riddle I cannot solve : but if I guess it, then he 
must die." The fair Tsarevna listened to the riddle: 
"Good lies on the road ; we took the good with good, 
and; set it down to our goodi" 

Anna the Fair took her conjuring book and' searched' 
it through for the riddle — looked the whole book through 
in vain. So the princes and« boydrs decided that she 
must marry the- Tsarevichs, But she was very gloomy 
over it,, yet stiU had to make ready. But in her heart of 
hearts she kept thinking : " How could I postpone the 
date and get rid of. my bridegroom ? " So she decided 
to 1 tire him out through severe tasks. One day she called 
Ivan Taarevich to her and said : " Dear Ivan Tsar6vich, 
my chosen mate, we must get ready for the marriage. 
Do me a smaE service. In my realm there stands in a 
certain village a great iron column : bring it to the great 
kitchen and split it up into little Ibgs as firewood for the 

" What do you want, Tsarevna ? Have I come to cut 
dbwn fuel for you. ? Is that my duty ? Ohi, my servant 
can see to that ! " So he called Katoma, and he told him 
to. bring the iron column into the kitchen and to hew it 
into small logs as fuel for the cook. 

Katoma at once went, took the pillar in his two hands, 
brought it into the- kitchen and split it up. But he kept 
back, four iron shafts and put them into his pcicket, for 
he- thought : " Later I may make use of them ! " 

Next day the Tsarevna said, " Dear Tsarevich, my 
chosen husband, to^-morrow we shall marry. I shall go 
in a carriage to church, and you will have a fine prancing 
s.teed.' given you. You must get him ready yourself." 

* Earls» 


" I must get the horse ready ! Oh, my servant can 
do that ! " . 

So Ivan Tsarevich called Katoma, and said : " Come 
into the stable and command the grooms to bring the 
horse out ; ride it, and to-morrow I will go to church 
on it." 

But Katoma could see the guile in the Tsarevna's 
heart, and instantly went into the stable and ordered 
them to bring the horse out. Twelve grooms opened 
the twelve locks, undid twelve doors, and led the magical 
horse out by twelve chains. Katoma went up to him, 
and as soon as ever he had swung himself on to the horse's 
back the steed rose high into the air, higher than the 
tree-tops in the forest, lower than the clouds in heaven. 
But Katoma had a firm seat, and with one hand he held 
the mane, and with the other he fetched an iron sheet 
out of his pocket and struck the palfrey between the ears. 

One sheet broke, then he took a second and a third ; 
and after the third broke he was taking the fourth. 
The horse was so tired that it could not resist him any 
more, but spoke in a human voice : " Father Katoma, 
leave me some life, and I wiU come down to earth and 
whatever you will I will do." 

" Listen then, wretched animal ! " Katoma answered. 
" To-morrow Ivan Tsarevich will ride you to his wedding. 
Listen ! When the servants take you into the broad 
courtyard, and he comes up to you and lays his hand 
on you, stand still : do not prick your ear. When he 
mounts, kneel down with your hoofs on the ground, 
and step under him with a heavy tread as if you were 
bearing a burdensome load." So the horse sank half- 
dead on to the earth. Katoma, seated by the tail, hailed 
the grooms and said, " Ho, you there ! grooms and 
coachmen, take this carrion into the stable." 

Next day came, and the hour for going to church. 
The Tsarevna had a carriage ready, and the Tsarevich 


was given the magical horse. And from all parts of the 
country the people had assembled in multitudes, count- 
less multitudes, to see the bride and bridegroom leave 
the white stone palace. And the Tsarevna went into 
the carriage and was waiting to see what would happen 
to Ivan Tsarevich. She thought to herself that the 
horse would prance him up against the winds, and that 
she could already see his bones scattered in the open 

Ivan Tsarevich went up to the horse, laid his hand 
on its back, put his foot into the stirrup, and the magical 
horse stood there as though he were made of stone, and 
never pricked an ear. The Tsarevich mounted it, and 
the horse bowed deep to the earth. Then his twelve 
chains were taken oflF. And he stood with a heavy even 
tread, whilst the sweat ran down his back in streams. 

" What a hero he is ! What enormous strength ! " all 
the people said as Ivan Tsarevich paced by. 

So the bride and the bridegroom were betrothed, and 
went hand-in-hand out of the church. 

The Tsarevna still wanted to test her husband's 
strength, and squeezed his hand, but she squeezed so 
hard that he could not stand it, and his blood mounted 
to his head, and his eyes almost fell out of their sockets. 
" That's the manner of hero you are ! " she thought. 
" Your man, Katoma Oaken-cap, has deceived me finely. 
But I shall soon be even with him." 

Anna Tsarevna the Fair lived with her God-sent 
husband as a good wife should, and always listened to 
his words. But she was ever thinking how she might 
destroy Katoma. If she knew that, she could very 
easily dispose of the Tsarevich. But, however many 
slanders she might think of to teU him, Ivan Tsarevich 
never believed her, but held Katoma fast. 

One year later he said to his wife : " Dear wif6, beauti- 
■ful Tsarevna, I should like to go home with you." 


" Yes, we will go together. I have long wished to 
see your kingdom." 

So they set out, and Katoma sat behind the coachman. 
As they drove out Ivan Tsarevich dozed off. 

Then Anna the Fair suddenly roused him from his 
sleep and icomplained. " Listen, Ivan Tsarevich-: you 
are always asleep and notice nothing. Katoma wiU not 
obey me, but is purposely taking the horses over aU the 
cobbles and into all the ditches, as if he wanted to 
destroy us. I spoke to him very gently, but he JOnly 
laughs at me. I will not go on living if you donot punish 
^him I " 

Ivan -Tsarevich was drowsy, and very angry with 
Katoma, and said to the king's ^daughter': " Do with him 
as you will." 

So the king's daughter at once made her servants cut 
off ICatoma's legs. He submitted to his torturers and 
thought : " If I must suffer, stiU the Tsarevich will 
soon learn something of what trouble is." 

His two legs were cut off : the Tsarevna looked round 
and noticed a lofty stump at the edge of the road. She 
bade Jier servants set Katoma on it. And as to the 
Tsarevich, she tied him to a rope behind the carriage, 
and so returned to her own kingdom. Katoma sat on 
his tree stem and wept bitter tears. 

" Farewell, Ivan Tsarevich : forget me not ! " 

Ivan Tsarevich had to leap behind the carriage, and 
knew very well that he had made a mis.take, but it could 
not be cured. 

When Anna the Fair had again reached her kingdom 
the Tsarevich had to mind the cows. Every morning 
he drove them into the open field, and every evening 
drove them back into the royal courtyard; and the 
Tsarevna sat on the balcony and saw that none of the 
cows was missing. Ivan Tsarevich had to count the 
cows and to stable them all, and to give the last one a 


Mss under its tail. The cow knew what was expected of 
kev, and remained standing at the door and lifted her 
tail up. 

Katoma aU day long sat on his tree-stump without 
meat ior drink, but could not descend, and he thought : 
" I must die of hunger." But near by there was a thick 
forest, and there a knight lived who was blind but very 
-strong. This knight used to scent the animals which 
ran by, run after them and catch them, not minding 
whether it were a rabbit, or fox, or a bear. He could 
roast them for lunch. And he could run so fast, faster 
than any animal that leaps. One day a fox came by, 
and the knight heard him and ran after him. The fox 
ran up to the tree on which Katoma sat, and turned 
round there. In his haste the blind man struck the 
tree so hard with his forehead that it fell out with its 
roots. Katoma tumbled down and asked : " Who are 
you ? " 

" I am the blind knight, and for three years I have 
lived in the wood, feeding myself on the animals I can 
catch and bake on my fire ; otherwise I should have died 
of hunger." 

" Were you blind from birth ? " 

" No ; Anna the Fair put my eyes out." 

" Brother ! " said Katoma, " she also cut off my legs, 
both of them." 

So the two knights decided they would live together 
and aid each other. 

The blind man said to Katoma, " Sit on my back and 
show me the way : I will serve you with my feet and 
you me with your eyes." The blind man lifted Katoma 
up, and the legless man cried out, "Left; right; 
straight on ! " So for a long while they lived in the wood 
and used to catch rabbits, foxes and bears for their food. 
•One day Katoma said : " Why should we live alone 
here ? I am told that there is in the town a rich mer- 


chant and his daughter. She, they say, is indescribably 
kind towards the poor men and cripples, and gives them 
alms with her own hands. Brother, we must carry her 
off. She shall live with us as the mistress of the house." 

So the blind man took a barrow, put the legless knight 
into it, and ran him into the town, up to the merchant's 
house. When the daughter looked out of the window 
she instantly rushed out in order to give them alms. 
She came to Katoma and said, " Take this as God's 
blessing ! " 

He accepted her gift and laid hold of her hand, 
dragged her into the barrow, and cried out to the blind 
man, who ran away so fast, faster than any horses could 
overtake him. It was all in vain for the merchant to 
try to overtake the two knights. The knights brought 
the merchant's daughter to their izbd^ in the wood and 
said : " Stay with us as our sister, and become the mis- 
tress of the house. We poor folk have no one to cook 
our food or to do the washing. God wiU not desert you 

So the merchant's daughter remained with them, and 
the two knights honoured and loved her as though she 
were their own sister. Sometimes they went a-hunting, 
and then the sister remained alone in the house looking 
after the domestic service, cooking the food and doing 
the washing. But one day Baba Yaga with the bony legs 
came into the hut and sucked the blood out of the fair 
maiden's breast. And whenever the two knights went 
away on the chase, Baba Yaga came back, so that very 
soon the merchant's fair daughter became thin and feeble. 
But the blind man did not notice : only Katoma noticed 
that something had gone wrong, so he told his com- 
panion, and both asked their sister what was the cause. 

Baba Yaga had forbidden her to tell them anything 
about it ; she was therefore much too frightened for a 

1 Hut. 


long time to tell them what was her trouble. But at 
last they persuaded her, and she told them : " Every 
time when you go out on the chase an ancient hag comes 
into the hut. She has an evil face and long grey hairs. 
She hangs her head down over me and sucks my white 

" Oh," said the blind man, " that is the Baba Yaga ! 
Wait a little bit. We must deal with her in her own 
fashion. To-morrow we must not go hunting : we will 
try to catch her in the house and to capture her." 

Next morning both of them went out. " Creep under 
the bench," said the blind man to Katoma, and sit still. 
I will go into the courtyard, and wait under the window. 
And you. Sister, sit down. If Baba Yaga comes, whilst 
you are combing her hair weave a part of her hair and 
hang the knot on to the window. I will then seize her 
by her grey tresses." It was said and done. The blind 
man seized Baba Yaga by her grey tresses, and cried out, 
" Ho, Katoma ! come out and hold the evil hag till I 
get into the hut." 

Baba Yaga heard it, and she wanted to lift her head 
and leap away, but she was unable. She tore and grum- 
bled, but it was no good. Katoma crept out from the 
bank and turned round on her, threw himself on her 
like a mountain of iron. He strangled her until the 
heavens appeared to her as small as a sheepskin. 

The blind man sprang out of the hut and said : " We 
must build a big faggot-heap and burn the old hag and 
scatter her ashes to the four winds." 

Baba Yaga besought them : " Father, dovehng, for- 
give me. Whatever you will I will do ! " 

" Very well, ancient witch," said the knights, " show 
us the well with the waters of Life and Death." 

" If you will only not lay me low, I will show it 


Then Katoma mounted the blind man's back and he 


took Baba Yaga by Ler 'hair. So they fared into the 
deepest part of the slumberous forest, and she there 
showed them a well and said : " This is the healing water 
•that renders life." 

" Take care, Katoma, do not make a mistake. If she 
deceives us this time we may not be able to repair it all 
our life long." 

So Katoma broke off a twig. Tt had hardly fallen into 
the water before it flamed up. 

" Ah! that was a further deceit of yours ! " 

So the two knights made ready to throw Baba Yaga 
into the fiery brook. But she still prayed for mercy as 
.before, and swore a great oath she would not deceive 
any more. 

" Really and truly I will show you the right water ! " 

So the two knights were ready once more to adventure 
it, an,d Baba Yaga took them to another well. Katoma 
broke off a dry twig from the tree and threw it into the 
well. The twig had hardly fallen into the water before 
it sprouted up and became green and blue. " This 
iwater is right," said Katoma, so the blind man washed 
his eyes and could at once see. And he put the cripple 
into the water, and his legs grew on to him. 

Then they were both very glad, and said, " Now we 
are healthy, we will again talk of our own rights ; but 
we must first settle our account with Baba Yaga. If we 
now forgive her, we shall get no good thereby, for she 
will strive ever against us all her life." So they took her 
back to the fiery brook and threw her into it, and she 
was burned to death. 

Katoma then married the merchant's daughter, and 
all three went back into the kingdom of Anna Tsar^vna 
the Fair to free Ivan Tsarevich. They went into the 
capital, and there he met them with his h.erdof cows. 

" Stay, herd," said Katoma, " whither are you driving 
the cattle ? " 


" into the Queen's couartyand ; the Tsarevna counts 
them every day to see whether all the ;cows have come 

" Herd, put on my clothes ; I will put on yours .and 
will drive the cows home." 

" No, brother, that will never do. Should the Tsar- 
evna notice it, I should suffer." 

. " Fear nothing ; nothing will happen, you will come 
by no harm ; Katoma is your surety." 

Ivan sighed : " O good man ! if only he were here 
I should not be herding cows." 

Then Katoma showed himself who he was, and the 
Tsarevich embraced him tenderly and wept bitterly. 
" I never expected I should see you any more ! " 

So they changed clothes, and Katoma drove the cows 
into the royal courtyard. Anna Tsarevna came out on 
to her balcony and counted the cattle. Then she com- 
manded to take them all into the stable. All the cows 
went into the stable : only the last stayed behind and 
raised her tail. Katoma sprang up at her and cried out, 
" Wretched animal ! why are you stopping here ? " 
So he gripped and snatched the tail so mightily that the 
entire skin remained in his hand. 

When Anna Tsarevna saw this she cried out aloud, 
" What is that wretched herdsman doing ? Lay hold 
of him an(^ bring him to me." 

So the attendants laid hold on Katoma and dragged 
him into the castle. Katoma suffered it without resist- 
ence and relied on his strength. 

He was taken up to the Tsarevna, who looked at him 
and said, " Who are you ? " 

" I am Katoma, whose legs you once cut off and then 
set on a tree trunk." 

Then the Tsarevna thought, " If he can get his legs 
back, I can do no more against him." And she asked for 
forgiveness from him and the Tsarevich. She repented 


of her sins and swore an oath that she would ever love 
Ivan Tsarevich and obey him in all things. 

Ivan Tsarevich forgave her, and forthwith they lived 
in peace and unison. The knight who was once blind 
stayed by them. But Katoma went away with his wife 
to the rich merchant and abode in his house. 


There was once a porter in the world : he had a wife 
who was passionately fond of stories, and she would only 
let people come and visit her who could tell stories. 
Well, as you may understand, this was rather costly to 
the husband. So he began to think, " How can I cure 
her of this undesirable habit ? " 

Well, one day in the winter, late at night, an old man 
came in frozen to atoms, and he asked to be allowed to 
stop the night. So the husband ran out to him and 
said, " Can you tell tales ? " 

TTien the peasant saw that there was no help for it, 
as he was simply freezing with cold, and said, " I have 
an idea : will you tell stories for a long time ? " 

" Yes, all night long." 

" Capital : come in ! " 

So he led the guest in. 

Then the husband said, " Now, my wife, here is a 
peasant who has promised to tell stories all night long, 
on the condition that you are not to make any remarks 
or interruptions." 

" Yes," said the guest ; " no remarks, or else I shall 
not open my mouth." 

So they had supper and lay down to sleep, and the 
peasant began — 

*' There was an owl flying across a garden, and it sat over a well 

and sipped the water. 
" There was an owl flying across a garden, and it sat over a well 

and sipped the water. 



" There was an owl flying across a garden, and it sat over a well 

and sipped the water. 
" There was an owl flying across a garden, and it sat over a well 

and sipped the water." 

And he went on telling, the same, thing over and over 
again — 

" There was. an owj flyjng, across a garden,, and it. sat over a weH" 
and sipped the water." 

So the mistress went on- listenings, and at last inter- 
rupted : " What sort of a tale is this ? Why,, it is a 
mere repetition." 

" Why do you interrupt me ? I told you you must 
not make" any exclamations : this is the prefaxre of the 
tale, and' there comes another after it.'" 

Then the man, after hearing this, cotdd not help 
leaping up from the bench and whipping his wife. 

"Ybui were told not to make any interruptions, and 
you will n-ot let him end his story." 

So he set on beating, beating, whipping, slippering, 
basting her, until the wife at the end- hated stoiies;. and 
was in despair ever afterwards at the sound of them. 


Aly-osha Popovich. One of tke great knights at the court of 
Erince Vladimir. He was an effeminate kind of person and 
perhaps one who rather incited others to effort by his jibes than 
by his prowess. He is always given the uncomplimentary soubri- 
j;«if,of.the ' Mocker o£ Women.' His principal heroic, episode-is 
told in the prose ballad in this book entitled ' Alyosha-Pbgovich/ 

AngeyjT-siiX. Filuyan is a fabulous, city found in the cant^ations 
animystical rites of the Russian peasants. It is, however, probably 
derived from the Greek QvKri^ 

Bdba Tagd. In Professor Sypherd'sL studies, on; Chaucer.'&. 
House of Fame, Chaucer Society, 1904, a most valuable note will 
be found on revolving houses. It will be seen that the legend, i? 
cognate with magic wheels liiat revolve at great speed, or turn 
on wheels emitting flame and poison. The nearest analogy 
quoted is the whirling rampart" in the MaeV Duinn; but the 
Russian legend is evidently related and not derived. 

Bogatjr. The bogatyr is the Russian Knight, but is absolutely 
unlike any Western! romanticinotion. He is a person of magical 
power and gigantic: stature and prowess. Some o£ the bogatyri 
are decidedly demi-god.s ; others more decisively human ; but 
they all have some superhiunan, it may be said iniiumani touch. 
The derivation of the word has been, very much in dispute. The 
characteristic thing to note is that the. word is only found in 
Russian, and in no other- Slavonic language, and. is almost cer- 
tainly of Tatar origin, the original form being something like 
Bagadur. The Sanskrit derivation which is attempted of Bagha- 
dhara seems scarcely probable; Goryayev's^ dictionary states that 
the original meaning was a company-commander of the Tatars. 



If so, btgaf^r is probably a corruption (though bog God and bogat 
rich) of the form buitur, found in the Slovo, which is certainly 
cognate with the Turanian root bw, to command, v. notes in my 
edition of Igor. 

Bryansk. Bryansk in the Province of Orel contains wonderful 
woods which were in ancient times impenetrable, and became 
the legendary home of magic, and of weird happenings. The 
Aspen tree is always associated in Russian folk-lore with magic 
and wizardry ; it is also said that Judas hanged himself on this 

Chernigov. An ancient city of Russia on the Dniepr, a little 
higher up than Kiev. 

Christ. As, in German folk-lore, the legends of Christ walking 
the earth with His disciples are very frequent and characteristic. 
There is a touch of friendly familiarity in this presentation which 
does not involve the least irreverence, but adds a touch of sarcastic 
humour which the Germans lack. 

The Brother of Christ. For the punishment of the old man 
who grumbled at the good things of earth there is a surprisingly 
close analogy in Dante's Inferno, canto vii.^ 

" Fitti nel limo dicon ; Tristi fummo 
Nell' aer dolce che dal sol s'aUegra, 
Portando dentro accidioso fummo : 
Ob c' attristiam nella belletta negra." 

" Sunk in the slime they utter : ' Loth were we. 
In sweet air sullen, which the sun makes glad, 
Our souls besmirched with dull reluctancy : 
Now in this black morass, our hearts are sad.' " 

Chufil-Filyushka. Both these names are adaptations of the 
Greek deo^tXof, 

NOTES 337 

The Crystal Apple and the Silver Saucer 

There is a strong Celtic flavour about this episode. Cf. The 
Twa Sisters o' Binnorie. 

Ho's ta'en three locks o' her yellow hair 

(Binnorie, oh Binnorie), 
And wi' them strung his harp sae rare 

By the bonny miU-dams of Binnorie. 

And sune the harp sang loud and clear 

(Binnorie, oh Binnorie), 
Fareweel my father, and mother dear ! 

By the bonny mill-dams of Binnorie. 

And then, as plain as plain could be, 

(Binnorie-, oh Binnorie), 
There sits my sister wha drowned me ! 

By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie. 

In this story the Russian of the words sung by the piper is 
also in Russian ballad metre. 

DanUo the Unfortunate. This is a prose version of a ballad and 
contains a very full account of this legend. The old hag whom 
Danilo meets on the way is elsewhere called the Wise Woman of 
Kiev, an old witch with the ugly qualities generally assigned. 

Death. Death is feminine in Russian and occurs all through 
the folk-lore as the visible figure of a skeleton whom they met 
by the way on the roadsides, and who may be cheated of her 
prey or dealt with like any other demon. 

Dolrjnya Nikitich. One of the great figures at the legendary 
court of Prince Vladimir. He was a dragon-slayer, but his 
principal employment was as ambassador. 


The Dream. Notes 

The izba, or hut, always has a dvor or courtyard, access to 
which is gained through double gates as well as through a postern. 
Often the hut is raised by a flight of steps from the level of the 

The izhd may have a cooling room in which to rest, so as to 
avoid the sjidden change of air from the heated inner room ; 
it is also a living room in the summer. Outside the dvor against 
the fence there is a bench (Idvka), on which the family sits in 
the summer. The hut is made of legs, the fence of boards. 

Between the rafters and the sloped roof is the loft (cherddk), 
into which a ladder leads. 

Inside the hut is that essential and central feature of Russian 
peasant life, the stove, which occupies one side of a wall. In 
front against it three long implements stand, the poker, broom 
and shovel. The oven rests on a brick or tile foundation, about 
eighteen inches high, with a semicircular hollow space below. 
The top of the stove is used for a sleeping bench (poldty) for the 
old folk or the honoured guest. In larger houses there may be a 
lezhdn'ka or heating stove, used as a sleeping sofa. 

The bath-house is separate from the hut, and contains a 
flight of steps for different degrees of heat, obtained from white- 
hot stones on which water is flung. This is only found in better- 
class houses. In villages there is a general bath-house to which 
the peasants go once a week. 

Every corner in the izbd has its particular name. There is 
the great corner, where the Ikon stands, the uffer corner near the 
door, and the stove corner opposite to the doors of the stove. 

The fence is made of boards or sticks or stumps. 

Long thin laths are stuck on to an iron spike, and Ut ; a pail 
of water is placed below into which the cinders fall ; these 
lamps must be renewed as they burn down, and the charred ends 
swept up. 

Up to very recent times, patriarchal usages obtained through 
Russia, and married sons resided in the father's house. 

ThiB particular story portrays some of the personifications and 
allegorizings of the common acts of Kfe ; all of which have their' 
appropriate blessing or grace. There are a number of tales of 

NOTES 339 

the curse attendant on the neglect of these duties, e.g. Ihe Devil 
in the Dough-fan. 

An example of the invocations is given in a note to Ihe Mid- 
night Dance. 

Duke. i.e. a translation of voyevoda, which is again a trans- 
lation of the High-German Herzog, which again is derived from 
the Latin Dux, meaning the leader of an army, not a mere title. 

Egori Khrahry. Egori the Brave. Is the Russian counter- 
part for St. George the Dragon-slayer. 

Elijah the Prophet and St. Nicholas. Perun was the God of 
Thunder in pagan Slavdom, and his attributes have been trans- 
ferred to Elijah who is represented as driven up to Heaven 
in a . fiery chariot darting fiery rays, drawn by four winged 
horses, and surrounded by clouds and flames ; a tale which 
copied the biblical account of Elijah's end. On earth the 
noise of the wheels is called thunder. In Novgorod there 
were one or two churches to St. Elijah of the Drought, and 
St. Elijah of the Rain, to be consulted as occasion required. 
The name days of these saints are December 6th and July zoth. 

Hawk. The hawk is one of the most common references in 
Russian folk-lore, and the reference to the clear-eyed hawk is 
one of the strongest metaphors. The crow is equally common, 
but is generally used as a malign being. In Russian folk-tale there 
is nothing incongruous in a man having as his sons a boy, a crow 
and a hawk or an eagle : or as in ' Mdrya Morevna,' where the 
marriage of Ivan with a beautiful princess and of his two sisters 
with the eagle and the crow are all of them equally plausible. 

Idolishche. One of the symbols of paganism in the early ballads 
of Russia. He is generally represented as a gluttonous monster ; 
but in the ballad of the Realms of Copper, Silver, and Gold his 
name has been given too as a goblin. Goblins are very rare in 
Russian folk-lore : fairies seem to be non-existent. 


IlyA Muroncets. Ilya Murometsis one of the heroes of' the 
Kiev cycle ; he derives his strength from mystical' sotirces of 
Mother Ekrth, and his great feat is the slaying of the Nightingale 
Robber. He is intermediate between the ' elder bogapyfi,'' the- 
earth-born Tirans, and the human champions of the legendary 
Court of Vladimir. He is always, of popular; origin and, as sucJi, 
at variance with/th.e semirScandinavian Court; 

Ivan Vasil'evich. The Tsar Ivan Vasil'evich is a very popular 
figure in the Russian ballads ; there are two of this name : 
Ivan III. 1462-1505, and Ivan the Terrible, 1533-1584. Both 
were very energetic rulers who enlarged the domain of Moscow 
and curbed the power of the territorial nobility. 

Midnight Dan<:e. General Notes to this Stort 

The underworld is the home of magic This charm, to be 
said by a soldier going to the wars,, may be of interest. , 

"Beneath the sea, the sea of KhvaL5b,sk [the Caspian], there 
stands a house of bronze, and in that house of bronze, the fiery 
serpent is enchained,- and under the fiery serpent lies the seven 
pud. key from the castle of the Prince, the Prince Vladimir^ and.. 
in the princely castle, the castle of Vladimir, are laid, the knightly 
trappings of the knights of Novgorod, of the youthful war-men. 

" On the. broad Volga, on the steep-set banks, the princely swan 
swims from the Prince's courtyard! I will capture that, swan, I 
will seize it, I vnll grasp it. (I will say) ' Thou, oh swan, fly to 
the sea of Khvalj^sk, peck the fiery snake to death, gain the seven 
fud key, the key from the earth of Prince Vladimir.' In my 
power it is not to fly to the sea of Khval;^sk ; in my power it is 
not to peck to death the fiery snake ; nor with my legs may I 
reach the seven pud key. There is on the sea, on the ocean, 
on the island of Buyan, the eldest brother of all the crows, and 
he will fly to the sea of Khval;^sk, he will peck to death the 
fiery snake, he wiU gain the seven pud key ; but the crow is-hdd 
back by the evil witch of Kiev. In the standing wood, in the 
grey-clad forest, stands a little hut, not thatched, not wattled ; 
and, in the little hut, lies the evil witch of Kiev. I will go to 
the standing forest, the dreamy wood, I will enter in at the hut 
of the evil witch of Kiev. 

NOTES 341 

"Thou,, oh evil witch of Kiev,. bid thy crow,% over the sea of 
Khval^nsk, to the house of bronze ; bid him peck the fiery snake, 
bid him gain the seven pud key. She was grim, and she clove to 
-her crow, the evil witch of Kiev. In my old age I cannot roam 
to the sea, to the ocean, to the isle of Buyan, to the Black Crow. 
Do, thou bid, by my enchanting words, the crow gain me the seven 
■pud key. 

" The crow has smitten the house of bronze, has pecked the 
fiery snake to death, has gained the: seven pud.key. 

" With .that key I will unlock the princely castle, the castle of 
Vladimir, I will gain the knightly gear, the trappings of the 
kniights of Novgorod, of the youthful war-men; .and in that 
;gear the arquebus cannot fell me, the. shots cannot; hit me, the 
warriors and champions, .the hosts of Tatary and>Kazdn cannot 
hurl Hie. 

" I invoke the servant, a man, a fighter, in the host, who ;goeth 
to war with these my potent words. 

"My words diejdown. 
My deeds .they crown." 

[Kazan was the last stronghold of the Tatars. It was stormed 
in 1549.] 

^uyan is a kind of fairy hill like the lir n^an dg of the Irish 
folk-tales, the land of youth, and cannot probably be assigned 
to any physical geography. Most probably the mythical Isle of 
Buyan is the reminiscence of the Isle of Riigen. The whole of the 
"Pomeranian coast from Liibeck to the Memel was, prior to its 
conquest by the Saxons and the Brandenburgers, a Slavonic 
district, and the Isle of Riigen, in especial, the promontory of 
Arcona, a seat of the most highly developed Slavonic pagan ritual : 
Saxo Grammaticus has conserved us fuU details. Considering 
the intimate association of the mysterious stone Aldtyr (probably 
meaning ambet) with 'Buyan : and the fact that Buyan is a Slav 
'translation of the Old Slav nanie Ruyan, the wind-swept isle 
[cf. English rough, German rauh, etc.]; also taken the specific 
references in the magic charms in connection with the facts 
recorded by the Scandinavian chroniclers, there seems to be little 
doubt that the Isle of Buyan is a folk-tale shadow of the old place 


of Pagan pilgrimage, contaminated, of course, with other fantastic 

Katoma. This is one of the marvellous servants whom for- 
tunate princes possess in folk-lore. In Russian folk-tales they 
have magical attributes, and are often described by their caps, 
e.g. oaken-cap, blue-cap, etc. 

Koshchey the Deathless. The meaning of this name is very hard 
to determine. There are at least three disparate ideas involved. 
First of all the most ancient is that which occurs in the Word of 
Igor's Armament, in which the word Koshchey is used for a 
warrior of the hostile Polovtsy ; and, when Igor is said to be put 
on a Koshchey saddle, it means he is taken into captivity. Hence 
the word koshchey came to be used in Russian as meaning a slave, 
or a groom, originally a captive slave from the Polovtsy who 
fought the Russians for over two hundred years. Consequently 
the word has a meaning in Russian folk-lore which has a wide- 
spread Aryan notion, that of a fearful Enchanter who lives in a 
mountain fastness far removed ; runs away with the beautiful 
princess, and can only be slain by the valiant lover, going through 
unfordable streams, impenetrable forests and unpassable moun- 
tains, so as to catch hold of his soul which is contained in a casket, 
or in some other manner is always terribly enclosed. He takes 
this soul, which is as a rule lastly contained in an egg, up to the 
Monster's palace, scrunches it in his hand, and the monster dies. 
Thirdly, the word became confused with kosf, bone, and so 
came to mean a skeleton or miser, and a wandering Jew. The 
epithet ' deathless ' does not mean indestructible, but that he 
can only be slain in an extraordinary manner and will not die in a 
natural way. 

Kutizovo. The Kutuzovy are-one of the most ancient of 
Russian families ; this particular viUage~i{om which they derive 
their name must be somewhere on the tride xoute^ of the 

Kvas. A liquid made from various kinds of flour and fermented 
with sour milk to which is added malt or yeast. 

NOTES 343 

Name-day. The day of the patron Saint. In Russia Saints' days 
are kept in place of birthdays. 

Na-um. In this Russian name the two vowels are to be sounded 
separately, Na-im. 

Nightingale Robber. His patronymics are Rakhmanovich, 
Odikhmantovich, Rakhmanya, all of them very difficult of 
definition or explanation. 

Nightingale Robber. Ilya Miiromet's conquest of the Night- 
ingale Robber is his most notable feat. He is a very difficult 
figure to explain. He is a gigantic bird who has been explained 
on the one hand as a highway robber who was a great bard, for 
the Russian solovey (nightingale) is applied to a minstrel. But 
it is more probable that there is a confusion of two other words 
in this one, and that the word solovey, which has come to mean 
nightingale, is either derived from sldva, meaning fame, or from 
the same root as the hostile power whom Ilya Muromets, in some 
of the ballads, fights, namely Solovnik the Grey One. Be this as 
it may, the version which has come down is that the Nightingale 
Robber was an enormous bird, whose nest spread over seven oaks, 
who had needed no other weapon than his dreadful beast-like, 
lion-like, or dragon-like whistle on which every wall and every 
beast and every man fell down in sheer terror. The rest of this 
story may be gathered from the one which has been selected for 
this book. 

The Pike. The pike plays a peculiar part in Russian folk-lore. 

Potdn'ka. The name of Potan'ka [in which the ' n ' and ' k ' 
are to be sounded separately as in pincase], is also found in the 
Novgorod ballads where Potan'ka the Lame is one of the boon 
companions of Vasili Buslayevich. 

Priskazka. Many of the tales begin with a conventional 
introduction which has no relation to the story. Such an 
instance may be found in ' The Wolf and the Tailor.' Also in 
' A Cure for Story-telling.' And the tale of ' The Dun Cow,' 
* Princess to be Kissed at a Charge,' etc. 


The Realm of Stone. For the episodes in this story of the 
kingdom turned to stone there seems strong evidence of adapta- 
tion or loan from the Arabian Nights. Cf. The Tale of the 
Young King of the Black Islands, and the Tale of the City of 
Brass, but the development is very different. 

Selezh. A city in the Vitebsk Province bordering on Poland. 

Shemyak. The judge. Shemyakin Sud, the court of Shemylk, 
is a proverbial expression for arbitrary judgments. He was a 
prince of Galicia of the time of Vasili II, 1425-62. He -was also 
a leader of the unruly nobles of that time. This may be partly 
the reason that the name of the family has been given this 
unfortunate significance. 

The Shovel. Shovels are used to insert loaves and pots deep 
into the Russian stove, for which use see the long note on the 
' Dream.' 

The Sister of the Sun. The Russian commentator in the com- 
pilation, from which these stories are drawn, states that this is the 
expression for the davm. 

Sorrow. This picture of Sorrow as an ancient hag who pursues 
mankind throughout life is peculiarly Russian and is the theme 
of very many beautiful ballads. She is described as a lovely 
beggar woman, with a pale face, low stature, and hare's blood in 
her veins, and her cheeks of poppy red, and she entices men to 
drink their sorrow away in the public-houses, and is frequently 
turned into a moral lesson against over-indulgence. But this 
particular appUcation of the myth, the picture of her as a wander- 
ing devil who attaches herself to unfortunate heroes but can be 
cheated into non-existence, much like the ordinary devil of folk- 
lore^ is a feature, as has been said, probably peculiar to Russia. 

St. Nicholas. In Russia St. Nicholas is the most popular 
miracle worker amongst all the saints. In the story of St. Nicholas 
and St. Elias his beneficent character is clearly shown. 

In the story of St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker, I have taken 

NOTES 345 

tke story as I found it, aud have not attempted to fill up the 
obvious gaps. 

The Sun, and how it was made by Divine Will. This story is 
of literary and ancient origin ; the language is very antique. 

Svyatogor. .Svyatqgor in this story may be -eponymous of jgeo- 
graphy. The word standing for svyatyya gory, the sacred moun- 
tains. Murom is an ancient Russian settlement in the province 
of Vladimir, by the river "Ota, and the village of Karacharovo 
is not far off. 

As to Svyatogor's bride, there is another story which tells. how 
he acquired her. One day 'Svyato]g6r was walking on the earth 
and laid hold of a wallet which an old man whom he met wander- 
ittg'by held. He could not lift it however, for it was roote'din 
the earth. He went on from there to a smith, something -like 
'Wa;^knd Smith (the whole tale has a curious Norse tang), who 
forged his fortune, told him' he would liave to go to the Kingdom 
by the Sea, and there' he would find his wife who for thirty years 
had been lying in the dung. He proceeds to the Kingdom by 
the Sea, finds the miserable hut, enters it, and sees the maiden 
•lying in the dung. And her body was as dark as a pine. So 
■Svyatogdr ^UTchases her freedom by taking out five hundred 
roubles, laying it on the table, and then snatching tip his sharp 
sword out of his sheath smote her on her white breasts and so 
left her. Then the maiden woke up, and the skin of age-long 
filth had been broken ; she went and traded with the five hundred 
roubles, came to' the Holy Mountains, and presented hers^f there 
in .all her maiden beauty. Svyatogor the Knight also came to 
look on her, fell in "love and wooed her for his wife. He then 
' recognisediher by the scar on her white breasts. 

fhe Swan Maiden. This is one of the most bafflin'g fi'gures in 
Russian mythology. She corresponds to the Siren of Greece, and 
the.Lojjeleiof Germany, but is very distinct in all her character- 
istics. She is also called in the Russian Devitsa (maiden), whidh 
may i)e. a corruption of Divitsa, the feminine of-Div,' one of the 
ancient pagan deities of- Russia. Like the Lorelei,^she is said to 
sit on the rocks and draw sailors down into the depths, but her 
more human characteristics are stated in this story. 


thoughtless Word. The devil ia this story is the popular myth 
of the water-gods or sprites, elsewhere called the vodyanoy or 
vodydnik. The point of detail, that after the rescue of the maiden 
the boy has to walk backwards until he reaches the high road, is 
rather similar to the Celtic notion of Widdershins, the super- 
stition that anyone who walked round the churchyard contrary 
to the direction of the sun would be captured by the fairies. 

Tugarin Zmyeyevich. Tugarin Zmyeyevich, the strong man, 
the Serpent's Son. 

Vaznza and Volga. Similar stories are told of other rivers. 
The old Russian ballads give names and patronymics to their 
rivers such as the people use for themselves, e.g. Dnepr Slovutich 
Don Ivanych. 

The Vaziiza is a short stream crossing the borders of the 
provinces of Tver and Smolensk, meeting a great bend of the 
Volga at Zubtsov (in the province of Tver). 

The Sea of Khvalynsk is the Caspian, so called from an ancient 
people (the lOivalisi) of the eleventh and tenth centuries, who 
lived at the mouth of the Volga in the Caspian. There is also a 
town called IChvalynsk on the Volga in the province of Saratov, 
above the city of Saratov. 

This particular story is probably a poetization of a geographical 
fact, but in all the Russian folk-lore the river-gods play a very 
great part. Thus Igor in The Word of Igor's Armament, on 
the occasion of his defeat, has a very beautiful colloquy with 
the Donets. At least two of the heroes of the ballad cycle, 
Don Ivanovich and Sukhan Odikhmantevich, are in some aspects 
direct personifications of the rivers, whilst the river-gods exercise 
a direct and vital influence over the fortunes of several others, 
such as Vasili Buslavich and Dobrynya Nikitich. 

Many Russian rivers have been rendered almost into human 
characters. The ordinary speech is still of Mother Volga. In 
the Novgorod ballads there is a mention of Father Volkhov, 
much as we speak of Father Thames, and there were very great 
possibilities of the development of a river mythology which did 
not succeed. It is worth observing that in one ballad dealing with 
Vasili Buslavich, the hero of Novgorod, this semi-comic figure is 

NOTES 347 

twitted by the men of Novgorod that he will one day turn the 
Volkhov into Kvas (q.v.) : i.e. he will one day set the Thames on 
fire. [Rybnikov, I, 336]. 

Jhe Wood-Sfrite. Lhhi is a peculiar feature in Russian folk- 
lore. He is somewhat similar to Pan, but is also represented as 
having copper arms, and an iron body, terms which refer to colour 
rather than to material. Sometimes he has claws for hands. 

Yagd Bira. This is the same as Baba Yaga, but is specific 
reference to the Witch who raises the Wind. 


Asfen. Always associated with magic. Its' trembling leaves 
give it a weird appearance. 

Baba Yagd. Russian witch, also Yaga Bura. 

Bdbusbkoii The grandmother; 

Bdrkhat. This word also means velvet. 

Batyushka. Father in a general sense, meaning anybody older. 
OtSts is father, meaning the relationship of father and som 

Birds' milk. The Russian folk-tale expression: for asking' for 
the moon. 

Boydrs. This may be translated earls, but in the Russian social 
scale it only meant the bigger men, the sei^^ieurs., 

Boydrynyi. Countesses, feminine, plural, of isyif. 
Chido-YMa. The Oldi Man of the Sea. , This is a veiy clear 
loan from the Homeric Proteus. 

Dyddka. Uncle. A term of respect. 

Egorushko Zalydt. Means George the Bold Flieri 

Fatd. A long silken glove. 

Gisli. A musical instrument, something like a zither with 
seven strings. 

Ivdshk o Ztmkhnik. Ivan, who is always sitting behind the 

Ivdshechko. A diminutive form of Ivan. ' 

Ivdshko. A diminutive form of Ivan, 

Izbd. Hut, 

Kaftan. A peasant's overcoat, made very long. 

Khvalynsh. The old name of the Caspian. Vide Vazuza and 



KoroUvich. King's son. Kor61, king. 

KoroUvna. King's wife. 

Ksdlavy. Mythical birds, the meaning of which is entirely 

Mikhdilo Ivdnovich. The popular name for the bear. 

Misha KosoUfy. Dmitri, the Bandylegged. 

Morevna. Of the sea. 

Nikita. From the Greek NiKjjT^i, conquer. 

Pope. Village priest. 

Pud. A Russian weight. Thirty-six pounds avoirdupois. 

Sarafan. A short sleeveless jacket, generally embroidered, worn 
over the bodice or the blouse. 

Sazhen. A length of seven feet. 

Sebezh. A city in the Vitebsk province, bordering on Poland. 
The Poles and the Mussulmen are all called infidels, Saracens or 

Shuba. A fur mantle. 

Stdrosta. Mayor of a town. 

Telega. A peasant's cart without springs. 

Tsarevich. Tsar's son. 

Tydtya. Daddy. 

Tzarevna. Tsar's wife. 

Ukaz. Imperial edict. 

Fdnya. A diminutive form of Ivan. 

Fertodub. The oak-turner, a gigantic figure. 

Fertogdr. The mountain-turner ; a gigantic figure. 

Fdron Foronovich. Crow Crowson. 

Zamoryshek. This name is freely translated Benjamin, the 
last-born son of an old man.